Technically, air conditioning can refer to any method of changing the quality of air. This includes heating, cooling, sanitizing, removing allergens or altering the humidity. However, when you hear air conditioning, most people think of cooling. In this article we'll take a look at some of the latest innovations in the world of home cooling, as well as solutions for those with unusually structured homes.
Window Mounted Hassles
They seemed miraculous when they were first introduced, but for years now the clunky, noisy, inefficient window-mounted air conditioner has been a source of irritation. Not to mention a source of ridiculously high energy bills! These air conditioners can also be installed directly in the wall of a home. However, this involves literally cutting a hole in the side of your house. Not something that most homeowners are eager to do, to say the least.
Central air is not new, but due to the amount of work involved in installing it, it's something that many homeowners still don't have. Very simply put, central air moves cold air throughout a house through the duct-work which carries heated air in the winter. These systems are more energy-efficient, quieter, and much more effective than the window- or wall-mounted fixtures of years gone by.
Benefits of Central Air
When it comes to cooling your home evenly and reliably, central air beats a wall-mounted air conditioner. Wall-mounts usually only cool the room where they're installed, leaving the rest of the house hot. In addition, if your wall-mount is in an open area, sometimes it feels like it's not even working. This is because the unit can only put out so much cooled air. If the area is large and open, that cool air is going to disperse so much that it's all but undetectable.
With central air systems, this isn't the case. In most systems, the desired temperature is set using a wall-mounted unit, just like the one you use to set your heating system during colder months. Cool air comes through all the vents in the house (your contractor can customize your system, however, if you only want to cool specific portions of the home). This leads to an evenly cooled home.
Gentler on the Environment
No cooling system is fully green. It takes a good deal of energy to cool down hot air, and although scientists are hard at work on a solution, there isn't one just yet. However, huge advances have been made, and today's central air systems are much more energy efficient than those of just a few years ago.
As with all energy-efficient products, central air systems which have been designed to be more efficient generally cost more. This is due to the added amount of skill and time which went into their design.
When deciding between different central air systems, remember to consider your individual usage, your house, and energy costs in your area. A home in a cool area near the ocean may only require artificial cooling a few weeks out of the year. This is a case where the less expensive model that consumes more energy may actually make sense. In the long run, you'll save money by choosing the less expensive version, and because it will hardly be used, the impact on the environment is greatly reduced.
The situation is very different, obviously, if you live in a very hot or humid area and plan to cool your home all the time. In this case, it pays to choose the more expensive, more energy-efficient system. Over time, your initial output will be made up for in lower energy usage.
Whether or not your home is well-insulated is another element to consider. Well-insulated homes will hold the cooled air inside for a longer amount of time, while poorly insulated homes let if fly right out through cracks and ceilings.
Do-It-Yourself or Professional Help?
Due to the amount of delicate work involved, its' almost always recommended that you contact a professional air conditioning contractor. Installing central air conditioning is very different from securing a window-mounted fixture, after all. Your home's duct-work must be evaluated and possibly modified. The central air unit must be installed, which usually involves opening up and connecting to your home's heating system. This is intricate, skilled and potentially dangerous work which should always be done by somebody with experience.
In many cases, you may be taking financial risks as well if you try to install a central air conditioning system on your own. There are some manufacturers who specify that the unit must be installed by professionals. If you ignore this advice, the company many not have to honor the warranty if something should go wrong.
In the case of central air conditioning, it's really in your best interest to hire a professional. This is an investment which will be used for years to come. We've all had the unpleasant experience of a heating or cooling system failing just when it's needed most, and sometimes those failures are the result of poor installation techniques. Do yourself a favor and let somebody with the correct knowledge and experience install your central air.
Finding the Right Professional
Selecting a contractor for your central air needs doesn't have to be a complicated process. Thanks to the online reviews which are now available on many websites, its' easier than ever to find a reputable contractor in your area. These reviews allow you to hear, first-hand, about the contractor's work, their work ethic and their general reliability. You can select your contractor based on whatever elements are most important to you.
Once you've gathered a group of potential candidates which you feel good about, start making phone calls. Ask about licenses, insurance and experience. These are the most important elements in choosing a contractor, so don't be afraid to insist on validation. A contractor who is following all applicable licensing laws, who is insured and who has experience with central air will have no reservations about verifying these things for you.Posted by: TrustedPros