Many parts of the United States routinely see very warm temperatures during the summer months. If you live in one of these areas, you know that air conditioning is necessary to make it through the warmer parts of the year. However, not all parts of the country face the same climates, and there are areas where air conditioning systems are less common.
For example, the climate is so cool in the Seattle area that more than half of households don't have any air conditioning system! Unfortunately, a generally cool climate doesn't mean that air conditioning systems aren't valuable, especially with the possibility of severe and unexpected heat waves. If you're considering an AC install in a cooler area, here are three crucial tips to keep in mind.
1. Don't Focus On Efficiency
Efficiency is a complex subject when dealing with HVAC systems. SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) is the industry standard for measuring central air conditioning efficiency, and higher SEER units will require less energy to operate. While the benefits of a higher efficiency system are undeniable, the cost savings will vary depending on your usage.
You'll see lower cost savings with a higher efficiency system if you only expect to use your air conditioning during extreme weather events or know that your system won't typically face higher temperatures. Instead, a standard efficiency system will cost less and still provide plenty of cooling power for those scorching heat waves.
2. Avoid Oversizing
If you're not used to dealing with air conditioners, you might be surprised to learn that a higher capacity system isn't necessarily better at cooling your home. HVAC contractors carefully design and size systems to meet your cooling needs. A system that's too powerful will run much too briefly, providing little time to remove humidity and often causing drastic temperature swings.
While it's understandable to worry about extreme heat waves stressing your system to the limit, it's important to avoid the temptation to install an oversized air conditioner. Instead, work with an experienced contractor to perform a detailed Manual J load calculation for your home. This calculation will provide you with the appropriate capacity to maintain comfortable temperatures.
3. Consider Your Existing HVAC Setup
If your home already has a forced-air heating system, then you're good to go for installing a traditional central air conditioner. However, homes without existing ductwork will require more extensive renovations. If you don't plan to use your system more than a few months out of the year, this added cost and disruption may not be worthwhile.
Instead, mini-splits may be a more suitable option. Mini-splits don't require new ductwork, but they still provide substantially better efficiency and comfort when compared to traditional window units. Installing a ductless mini-split may be a good choice if you want to provide resiliency against extreme weather events without breaking the bank.
Contact a local service to learn more about AC installation.