Author Topic: Calling air conditioner experts  (Read 1708 times)

RiskDown

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Calling air conditioner experts
« on: August 26, 2014, 03:56:50 PM »
Going to have to suck it up and install a new AC system + air handler in Northern Florida (3-5 months of 90+ temps typically). My current unit is 13+ years old and is becoming too inefficient. FWIW, I have natural gas ran to my house and use it for my hot water.

So my questions are:
1) Does any one have any recommendations for brand? (I've read TRANE's are the best rated by consumer reports)
2) Heat pump vs. A/C unit? (North Florida average low temperatures during January = 39 degrees... probably freezes a dozen times a year, in a bad year)
3) Electric vs. Gas/Electric combo?

Any input is appreciated. I already plan to beef up my insulation, but this expense is pretty much a necessity, as I'm running my AC up to 82 between the hours of 7am-7pm... and still seeing utility bills above $250... already had service man come out and advise system loss of efficiency is cause (tested switching capacitor/and isn't loosing coolant)

I'm pretty mustachain about installing stuff myself, but not sure I have the fortitude for central HVAC system. Again, any advice from someone who has gone through this purchase recently is much appreciated.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2014, 04:25:48 PM by RiskDown »

okashira

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Re: Calling air conditioner experts
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2014, 04:46:52 PM »
Seal the ducts and put in mini-splits.
Probably easier to install too since no air handler BS and ducts go away.
Those suckers win for efficiency and you can cool room by room.
The good / high eff ones are also heat pumps, so win win.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Calling air conditioner experts
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2014, 09:13:49 AM »
Aside from the HVAC installation, I'd strongly suggest you take a look at reducing your heat gain/loss.  Check your attic and wall insulation, consider solar screens and/or reflective film on your windows, consider a radiant barrier in the attic, etc.  A lot of these things are inexpensive and DIY-able.  And besides the reduction in electricity bills, they'll make the temperatures more even in your house.

guitar_stitch

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Re: Calling air conditioner experts
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2014, 11:13:18 AM »
If you're going to stay with a central unit:

-Gas heating has historically been cheaper to operate.  Consider installation costs, however.  If you have a gas stub out in the air handler closet, this is the winner.
-Heat pumps are alright for heat.  It's an AC run in reverse, so there is a pretty heavy electric drain.
-Resistive strips suck, period.  Either go Gas heat, straight cool, or go heat pump.

As for brand...  really they're all about the same.  I had a Tempstar (Carrier) put in my house 5 years ago.  It has had a couple of problems, but I found them to be acceptable due to the outstanding 10 year COMPLETE SYSTEM warranty.  I find that unit to be fairly efficient (as AC units go).  More important than the brand is the quality of the contractor doing the work.  A great AC with a half-assed installation WILL have problems.

FWIW, a license is required for AC installation due to the refrigerant.  There MAY also be requirements for a building permit.