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It’s not often you’re faced with a choice between replacing your air conditioner and furnace simultaneously. At Metro Plumbing, Heating and Air, however, we’re both a heating and air conditioning service and see households consider that dilemma all the time.
There’s no black or white answer to the question, but there are a few factors that should guide your decision. For instance, the climate in Cleveland, TN, the age of your units as well as your home, and how modern you want your heating or air conditioning units to be. Also, are your air conditioning and heating units “matched”?
A heating and air conditioning service can navigate you through these considerations, but it’s worth understanding a few fundamentals first.
Understanding the Basics of Your HVAC System
Your HVAC system isn’t that complicated, according to any heating and air conditioning service, but it certainly seems like it is.
HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. An HVAC system involves three elements. The furnace/heating mechanism that involves gas being used as fuel to ignite and then heat the home – excess gas is released through a chimney.
The second part of this unit is the air conditioning system where cooling systems remove heat and supply ducts circulated cold air throughout your home while return ducts take warm air back to the air handler to be filtered and cooled.
Typically, modern-day furnaces have a lifespan of between 15 and 20 years, while an air conditioning system could last between 12 and 15 years.
The third element is ventilation, which ensures air is circulated throughout your home.
Common Pitfalls to HVAC Installation
Before you get to the point of deciding to replace your furnace and air conditioning system, know that there are some common pitfalls to HVAC installation that could bring you to that decision sooner than necessary.
These include forgetting to keep up with your HVAC’s annual maintenance. Heating, ventilation and air conditioning units are substantial installations and maintenance can involve more than cleaning out filters now and then.
Periodically, and at least annually, you should call your local service to repair, recondition or clean out your unit, which will prolong the need to replace your HVAC system.
Metro Plumbing, Heating and Air can help you service your HVAC units annually or whenever you need, particularly if you’re resident in Cleveland, TN.
The other mistake often made is getting a bigger unit than you need because this can result in short cycling.
You should get your heating and air conditioning service to determine the correct furnace size, carrying out full house evaluation if necessary.
In Cleveland, TN, as well as the rest of the U.S., your heating and air conditioning service will use the Manual J Load Calculation. This standard takes into account your home’s square footage, insulation, storm windows, ceilings, crawl spaces, and walls, as well as how well sealed the windows are and if your home is sheltered from the outside.
When do you repair and when do you replace your system?
A routine maintenance from your heating and air conditioning service can help determine if things need repair or attention. However, you may be presented with the option of replacing your air conditioning unit or your furnace, and sometimes both at the same time.
When there’s a choice, how do you decide what makes more sense?
There are a few things that you can consider. Broadly, these factors are age, technology, cost, size/capacity, environmental impact, and performance.
Both your air conditioning unit and furnace can be performing their roles but that doesn’t mean they are doing so efficiently.
More modern heating and air conditioning units are more efficient than their older counterparts, using less energy, which is not just great for your energy bills but it’s better for the environment.
Your local heating and air conditioning service can walk you through energy efficient models for your home. However, fundamentally you should take note of an air conditioning system’s SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating. Modern systems will have a SEER number of 13 and the higher the number, the more efficient the unit.
The relevant measure for your furnace is the annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). The AFUE in modern furnaces is said to be of 90% or more.
According to the Energy Information Administration, heating and cooling can account for around half of your domestic energy costs, so being able to keep these to a minimum is significant.
Furnace systems also go by BTU (British Thermal Unit) ratings to denote a furnace’s capability to heat a space. Any furnace will often come in different sizes. Some of those more commonly used are between 40,000 and 100,000 BTU.
When your furnace has a higher capacity than is appropriate for your home then it might cause rapid-cycling, which happens when a target temperature is reached too quickly causing your furnace to switch off. If this happens too often it may cause excessive wear on system components.
Your air conditioning and heating service will also advise you on the BTU rating most appropriate for your home to prevent rapid cycle or short cycling.
As HVAC systems’ technology is evolving with the rapid pace of development, you could find yourself with an air conditioning system with different technology to your furnace, which might decrease system performance.
Matched systems will complement each other and allow both units to run efficiently. And this is a big proponent for replacing your furnace and your air conditioning units at the same time.
For more information and advice on making the right decision, get in touch with Metro Plumbing, Heating & Air as we’re a heating and air conditioning service that can offer you the advice you’re looking for in Cleveland, TN. We work with most major brands and our heating and air conditioning service is one you can rely on for honest and professional advice.