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Installing a New Central A/C in Your Ashburn Home? Do It in the Fall


If you’re planning on installing a new central A/C in your Ashburn home next year, why wait? Fall is the best time to purchase and install a new cooling system. In the spring, the demand for new systems is high and the supply is low, resulting in higher prices.

During the summer, the prices can soar due to immediate demand when the existing system fails, as well as the fact that HVAC companies are extremely busy keeping residents cool when common A/C problems strike. During the weeks of autumn, when the days are cooler and air conditioners are taking frequent breaks and the furnace is still dormant, contractors’ phones stop ringing off the hook and many are just waiting to give you a good deal on purchasing and installing a new central A/C, just to give their technicians something to do.

Here are a few things you should consider before beginning your search for a new A/C.

Two Types of Air Conditioners

If you’re replacing an aging heat pump or window air conditioner with a new central system, you have two types of  air conditioners to choose from.

  • A split system has two separate units. The evaporator is located in the indoor unit, and may also contain the furnace. The condenser and compressor are located in the outdoor unit, which is situated on a concrete platform near your house.
  • A packaged system houses the evaporator, compressor and condenser in one unit, which sits on the roof of the house or on a slab outside your home. This type of A/C may include a gas furnace or one with electric heating coils.

If you’re replacing an older central split system air conditioner, you should replace both the indoor and outdoor unit. A mismatched split system will fail sooner, won’t operate as efficiently as it should, and will reduce your comfort level.

Existing Ductwork

It’s essential to choose an air conditioner that’s properly sized for your home, but the ductwork is equally important for efficiency. Your contractor will inspect the ductwork to determine whether it’s properly sized for the new system and for your home. Severely damaged ductwork may need to be replaced in order to benefit from the energy savings of a high-efficiency system. If your existing ducts are in good shape and properly sized, they will work just fine with your new air conditioner.

Efficiency Options

When choosing a new air conditioner, consider the efficiency of the system. Air conditioner efficiency is measured by the seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER, which indicates how much energy is used by the system to provide a specific cooling output. Older systems typically have a SEER of just 6, while new systems are required to have a SEER of at least 13. For reference, a SEER of 13 will be 30 percent more efficient than a SEER of 10.

High efficiency systems that have earned the Energy Star logo have a SEER of 14 to 17, making them the most efficient air conditioners available. While Energy Star systems cost more to purchase, they will pay for themselves over time with the considerable energy savings they provide.

Choosing a Contractor

Hiring a reputable contractor is critical when installing a new central A/C unit in your home. First, a load calculation will need to be performed to ensure you get an air conditioner that’s properly sized for your home. Some contractors will eyeball it, and the result could be an oversized system. Quality contractors will always use the Air Conditioning Contractor’s Association’s standard procedure, known as Manual J, to properly size your new system, taking into consideration factors that include the size of your home, how it sits in relation to the sun, the types and placements of doors and windows, and the amount of wall and attic insulation.

Manufacturer warranties can save you a lot of money if your system experiences problems, but if your air conditioner wasn’t installed by a licensed, authorized technician, the warranty will be void.

Improperly installing a new central A/C can lead to serious problems with the system, including frequent breakdowns, inadequate cooling, and high energy bills. Your contractor should hire only technicians who are certified by the North American Technician Excellence, or NATE, which ensures they are highly skilled and knowledgeable about current systems, installation procedures and new technologies.

We can help you with choosing and installing a new central A/C in your Ashburn area home. Please feel free to contact us at HVAC & Plumbing Unlimited Heating & Air Conditioning.

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