Simply replacing your air conditioner may not be enough, alone, to reduce your summer utility bills. The home must also be inspected for proper insulation, gaps and cracks. If you have an older air conditioner and a poorly insulated home, you are placing a strain on your A/C unit. Air can also leak out of gaps and cracks commonly found in the attic floor, outside walls or where an addition connects to the existing house.
Call a heating and cooling contractor to have your home and A/C unit inspected for cracks and gaps and to see if new insulation is necessary. Upon inspection, your older A/C unit may be fine to continue cooling your home with the added support of extra insulation and closed gaps. These simple fixes can reward the homeowner with 30 percent off their utility bills or even qualify them for a $500 tax break.
If your home is tested and proves to be energy-efficient, then it may be time for a new air conditioning unit. Have your contractor test the old system to find out if that is the root of the problem. If it is necessary to purchase a new unit, consider several factors.
When purchasing a new unit, it is important to get the correct size. A unit that is too big could cost too much to operate and maintain. A system that is too small would be inefficient and not cool the home properly. Ask your contractor to complete a Load Calculator. This will measure exactly what size unit your home or area will need by taking into account size, number of windows, insulation and other various factors. You should request quotes from several contractors and ask each to furnish a printout of the Load Calculator.
Do your homework before you purchase a new air conditioning unit or begin a home improvement project for energy efficiency.