How long should my air-conditioning system last?
Typically an air conditioning/heating system will last 10-12 years. Beyond that, efficiency steadily declines. New, more energy-efficient systems can cut electrical consumption up to 50%, providing substantial savings on your electric or gas bills. Maintenance is a must to maximize efficiency and protect your investment.
Will a new air-conditioner lower my bills?
By installing a new, high efficiency system (14 SEER or higher), you can reduce your energy usage anywhere from 20% to 50%.
What is SEER?
This stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The size of an air conditioner is rated in BTU or Tons, however the efficiency is rated in SEER. It’s like mpg (miles per gallon) in a car; the higher the mpg (or SEER), the lower the gasoline (electricity) bill. The current minimum is 14-SEER for new installations.
What is a heat pump?
Is it better than an air conditioner? In the summer, a heat pump is no different than an air conditioner. In the winter, a heat pump operates in reverse and heats the indoors. A common complaint about heat pumps is that the air coming out of the registers is not hot enough. Heat pumps need auxiliary heat (electric resistance heat or gas furnace) to help them when it is extremely cold or when the thermostat is moved more than 2 degrees at a time. However, here in the moderate climate of Southern Louisiana, heat pumps can provide dramatic savings, particularly if you have electric heating.
What is the difference between a split system and a package unit?
Residential air conditioning/heating systems can be split systems or single package systems. Most are split systems. A split system has one of its heat exchangers (which includes the compressor) located outdoors and the other (the indoor coil) located indoors. A single package system has both heat exchangers located in the same unit, usually outdoors.
Can I replace only the condensing unit, and not the air handler in my split system?
Replacing only the indoor (air handler or evaporator coil) or only the outdoor (condensing) unit of a system can result in a mismatch that compromises efficiency. It is ideal to buy and install both units together. However, in most cases it can be done, but note new equipment is available with R-410a refrigerant; if you existing equipment is utilizing R-22 refrigerant, both indoor and outdoor equipment must be replaced.
I know a friend who says he can install a new air conditioner for me, and save me a lot of money. Is this a good idea?
Be sure that he has experience, is licensed (HVAC), obtains all required permits, meets all county code requirements, and has adequate insurance in case he burns your house down by not wiring it correctly, floods your home by not draining condensation correctly, or blows up your equipment not charging it correctly. If he meets these requirements, you may save some money. However, keep in mind that you will be dependent on him and his schedule for warranty repairs. Just be sure you are not getting a “cheap” installation that will cost you more in the long run.
Will you install equipment I purchase online?
We do not install air conditioning and heating units we did not purchase directly from the manufacturer. Keep in mind that air conditioning and heating systems aren’t plug-and-play. If you were buying a new refrigerator or free-standing oven online, and can save some money, we'd encourage it. Those appliances are truly; plug-in and you’re done. A new air conditioning system however, requires someone who understands how to purge the system with nitrogen and R11 flush, pull the system into a vacuum, charge it properly with refrigerant (understands superheat and subcooling), wire control circuits properly, adjust the blower CFM settings, and so much more. When done improperly, or not according to exact manufacturer specifications, not only will the system not operate properly, but can damage a unit to the point where it is unusable. You’ll notice that most manufacturer's warranties state they won’t warranty anything purchased online “unless installed by a licensed contractor”, so great, you’re covered, right? The problem with that is, it gives the online retailer an opportunity to start finger-pointing, and becomes a game of he-said, she-said. The lines start to get blurry between what problem was created by installation issues, sizing issues, airflow issues, or actual equipment issues, so both the installing contractor and retailer have reason to point at each other as the problem, with you in the middle. The consumer is ultimately the one left holding the bag…and attorney’s cost more than the unit and installation combined.
How do you determine the size of air conditioning system to install?
Square footage is NOT the proper method to size equipment. Our trained technicians measure your home and calculate the heating and cooling load on the home (based on window size and direction, walls, ceiling, floor, appliances, insulation, current equipment and ductwork). This will determine the proper size of equipment that is needed. We don't assume that the existing equipment was originally sized properly or that it will be the correct size after any remodeling that may have occurred since it was originally installed. You can put a block of ice in a cardboard box and another block of ice of the same size in an insulated cooler the same size as the cardboard box; the ice in the cooler will last much longer than the cardboard box due to the insulation factor.
Tonnage is not a real number, it is a range the HVAC industry uses to simplify and categorize equipment. When we do a load calculation, we are determining how many British Thermal Units per Hour are needed to cool and heat an indoor space to a certain temperature at a given outdoor ambient temperature (then we still need to account for humidity). We are not determining tonnage, we are determining BTUH.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of increasing your equipment size?
An air conditioner that is “oversized” will cool your home more quickly, but will not be as energy efficient and will not remove humidity adequately, and in Louisiana, humidity is a HUGE factor. If your ductwork is not big enough for the “oversized” unit, the coil may freeze and then the system won’t work at all. We recommend a system that will cool your home to 75 degrees when it is 95 degrees outside, and then adjust slightly if needed to meet your temperature preferences.
Who takes care of all necessary permits?
We always obtain the necessary permits, and post them as required. A parish or city inspector will be scheduled to inspect the newly installed equipment typically several days after the installation to ensure all code requirements have been met.
How many companies should I get bids from before I decide on a new system?
Two or three written quotes are generally enough. Consider more than just price when purchasing a new air conditioning system. You want a company who will always be there for you, 24/7, to maintain and service your investment, year after year. Look closely at the recommended equipment’s features and benefits, efficiency ratings, and manufacturer’s warranties.
How do I check out the companies I am considering to install my new system?
Are your technicians on commission?
No! Our salemen and technicians are salaried employees, and will only make recommendations based on your comfort needs.
How often should I schedule a maintenance check on my air conditioner?
Here in Southern Louisiana, you should have an bi-annual check-up completed on your system (usually Spring and Fall - Ideally it is best to get an air conditioner maintenance check and tune-up when the temperature is 75 degrees Fahrenheit and above. When it comes to your furnace or heat pump’s heating maintenance check-up, ideally the temperature should be 65 degrees Fahrenheit or below.). Your air conditioner needs regular maintenance to keep it operating properly, efficiently, and safely. We offer a preventative maintenance agreement for our customers’ convenience. As a PMA customer, we take the hassle out of remembering to take care of your air conditioner. We contact you bi-annually to schedule the necessary maintenance for your system, and in addition, you’re eligible for discounts on any needed service or new equipment. Call today for complete information.
How often should I check my filter?
It’s a good idea to check it monthly, and clean or replace it as needed. A good tip for remembering is to check it each month when your electric bill arrives. Clean filters reduce energy usage, and save you money! They also help prolong the life of your system.
Should I set my thermostat fan to “ON” or “AUTO”?
For most people, AUTO is the preferred setting. When set on AUTO, the fan only comes on to circulate the air when the system comes on (either heat or cool). However, for people with respiratory problems, it may be beneficial to set the thermostat on the ON position so that the air is continuously being circulated and cleaned through the filter. The system is more energy efficient when set on AUTO.
Should I repair or replace my system?
It depends upon the age of your equipment, how long you plan to live in your home, the cost and nature of the needed repair, valid warranties, your budget, and other factors. If your air conditioner is more than 6 years old, you may want to consider replacement vs. a costly repair. You may find that by financing a new, energy efficient system, your savings on your monthly utility bill exceeds your monthly payment for the new system. It is often worth a closer look.
How do I register my extended warranties on my new equipment?
Team Poteete Mechanical will register the 10-12 year limited parts warranties and any purchased extended labor warranties on new equipment, and we will provide you that written documentation with your invoice. Without that registration, most manufacturers will default to 5-6 years limited parts warranty duration, so we take care of you at Team Poteete Mechanical, LLC.
Air Conditioning Installation, Service and Repair in East Baton Rouge, Ascension and Livingston Parishes