Whether summers are truly getting hotter, or they just seem to be, installing central air conditioning is becoming more and more appealing. The noisy, drippy, and usually ineffective window units seem nearly archaic when compared to the simplicity and comfort of a central cooling system. However, many view the process of installing central air as a massive undertaking. In reality, it is relatively inexpensive and far simpler than one would think.
When you have made the decision that your home is ready to upgrade to a central air system, the most crucial step is to find a qualified electrician. Talk to family, friends, or neighbors for a recommendation. The National Electrical Contractors Association runs a website where you can find a certified electrician in your area. For this job, you want someone who is certified or accredited in Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC). You may also want to check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been lodged against your potential electrician. You may also want to compare rates for the cost of installation. However, because every home has different needs, it is difficult to estimate costs before a consultation.
Once you have located a qualified electrician, your house will be evaluated to determine what sort of unit you will need. Every home is different, and factors such as insulation, the location of the home, and placement of doors and windows are taken into consideration. If your electrician does not conduct this evaluation, hire a new one. There is no way to determine what kind of unit you need without taking a good look at the house. After the evaluation is complete, the electrician may have suggestions in ways to make your home more energy efficient. You may choose to take these measures before having your air conditioning unit installed.
When the installation process begins, your electrician will determine how large your cooling unit should be. This is important because an undersized unit will have to run longer and use more energy, and will not completely cool rooms. A unit that is too large will cool rooms, but will not circulate the air, resulting in a humid feeling in the house. The electrician should also inform you of the efficiency of the new unit. The initial price of a more efficient unit is higher, but will reduce long-term energy costs.
The next step of installation is selecting what type of central air system to buy. Package systems are available, which keep all components of the cooling system inside the home. While convenient, these systems are rare. The more popular system leaves the condenser outside (or occasionally in the attic), where the warm air is released. Pipes that connect into the condenser can be disguised by existing gutters, and while the outside unit is large, it can be hidden with proper landscaping, as long as air can still circulate.
One of the greatest concerns in installing a central air system is the ductwork. Homes with furnaces have existing ducts, which can be altered to accommodate the cool air as well. Those with homes that do not have existing ducts do not need to fear the home being completely gutted to accommodate ductwork. The cost of installation does double in this case, but any experienced electrician can hide ductwork in closets, behind walls, and in the attic. Because of technological advances, ducts do not need to be as large as they once were. Regardless of the condition of your home, any experienced electrician should be able to meet your needs. If installing central air conditioning has been a serious consideration for you, it may be time to assuage your fears and consult an electrician.