Notice anything funny going on with your air conditioner? Is it running too long, making odd noises, or worse, not running? What should you take as a next step, especially on a hot summer day when you need relief fast?
You can call an HVAC service technician, but often you have to wait a few days or more, especially during the busy summer season. While waiting for that appointment confirmation, you can pull in some fans, pull out the portable air conditioners, and dress in loose clothing, but that warm house is miserable.
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At Fire & Ice, we get hundreds of service calls from Worthington, Ohio, for air conditioners during the summer months; let’s review some common issues impacting your AC’s ability to cool your home.
Air Conditioner Capacity in Worthington, Ohio
A vital aspect of choosing an air conditioner is the capacity, or “size.” This impacts its ability to meet your cooling needs. It should be as closely matched as possible to your home size and layout. Figuring out that number is crucial because it can cause a problem in how your machine operates, called short cycling.
Air Conditioner Short Cycling in Worthington, Ohio
If it’s sized too big, an air conditioner will cycle on and off too often. We call it “short cycling.”
That frequent turning on and off doesn’t allow the cool air to mix well with the hot. As a result, there will be hot and cold spots in the house. All rooms may be varying temperatures making you and your guests uncomfortable.
If an air conditioner is too small, it will run frequently and not cool your home correctly. In addition, it will drive up your electricity bill.
Signs Your Air Conditioner Could Be Short Cycling
- Rapidly shuts on and off
- Does not cool to temperature on the thermostat
- The home temperature is warmer than it should be
- High energy bills
- Weak airflow from vents
- Leaking water
Any of these issues can be a sign that your air conditioner is short cycling and may not be functioning efficiently. Part of the reason your system may be short cycling is that it is not correctly sized for your home. Ensuring your contractor completes a Manual J Load calculation can help prevent this issue.
What is a Manual J Load Calculation?
To correctly size your air conditioner, your HVAC contractor needs to measure your home by calculating a load. A Manual J load calculation is a set of analyses that determines how much heat your home gains and loses during a given season.
A load calculation does look at the square footage of your home but also features that affect heat loss/gain. These features include the number and size of windows and doors your home has, the location of these windows, the height of your ceilings, the type of basement you have, etc.
Why do contractors skip a load calculation?
Some contractors may skip a manual J Load because it requires extra time and training. This can lead to a poor outcome for the job, and you may have to hire someone else to fix it. Not completing a Manual J Load Calculation can result in a system that is not only improperly sized for your home but also wasted energy, premature system breakdowns, and negative performance.
Air Conditioning System Efficiency in Worthington, Ohio
Another consideration in purchasing an air conditioner is the SEER rating (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). This rating determines how efficient your system is.
The minimum standard SEER for air conditioners is 13. The majority of modern air conditioners have a SEER that ranges from 13 to 21. But starting in 2023, the minimum requirement will jump to 14 minimum SEER. The higher the SEER, the more efficient it is. And usually, as the SEER rating goes up, the purchase price increases. However, because this means it will be running more efficiently, the operating costs will be lower at these higher SEER levels, which can reduce the long-term costs of your system.
Do I Need a High SEER Rating?
A higher SEER rating will mean that your air conditioner will run more efficiently, but there are other factors to consider. The SEER rating of your system can also decrease over time. We had seen older systems that were likely a SEER 6 when they were installed but had deteriorated and dropped down to an even lower SEER rating by the time they were replaced. If your system falls into this category, you will likely experience significant energy savings by changing to a newer system.
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Air Conditioner Stages in Worthington, Ohio
Air conditioners can be categorized into stages:
2. Two-stage air conditioners have two settings: 100% capacity and another lower setting that’s usually around 70%. Two-stage air conditioners use less energy, which makes them more efficient than single-stage.
3. Variable-speed air conditioners have settings generally from 100% down to 40% and are able to increase or decrease in tiny increments. These are the most efficient among central air systems and are the most expensive.
Who will benefit from each type of air conditioner?
Choosing the right stage of air conditioner can appear like a complex decision, but it doesn't have to be. Consider these factors when trying to determine the best type of air conditioner for your home:
A more energy-efficient unit can help keep your bills low and is also better for the environment. A single-stage air conditioner is going to be the least efficient option because it has to be at 100% on or completely off the entire time. A two-stage air conditioner is going to be a more energy-efficient option, with variable speed air conditioners being the most efficient. Both of these options do not have to operate at 100% power and use smaller amounts of power in order to function.
As mentioned above, looking for a high SEER rating also is a good indication that you have a more energy-efficient system.
Cost of the Air Conditioner
Two-stage and variable stage air conditioners are generally going to be more expensive because of the complexity of the machines. Compared to a single-stage air conditioner, they are less expensive however to run.
Repair Costs of the Air Conditioner
Single-stage air conditioners are the most common and generally will be easier to repair. However, having regular air-conditioner tune-ups, we recommend scheduling them once a year, can help keep your equipment in top shape.
Air Conditioners Need to Match the Rest of Your HVAC System
If you’re replacing only your air conditioner, you’ll need to make sure your air conditioner matches your new air conditioner to your current heating system. Their respective capabilities need to be the same. This is typically the case if you choose a variable-speed air conditioner and don’t have a furnace unit with the same feature.
Variable-speed air conditioners require indoor blower motors that operate at different speeds. Since your system’s blower motor is located inside your furnace or air handler, it’s essential to ensure that the designs are compatible.
To get its full benefits, you may have to replace your furnace so that both can work in conjunction with each other appropriately.
What’s the Price of a New Air Conditioner in Worthington, Ohio?
The pricing of a new air conditioner varies significantly based on inflation, what type of system you install, and the labor that needs to be completed. Please visit our air conditioner pricing article here for a complete list of information.
Most importantly, all of our pricing includes labor costs and all fees. Labor can be as much as 50% of the total installation cost. Other factors determining the price besides size and the types of staging include:
- Local permits
- Electrical costs involving breakers and thermostats
- Ductwork modification, if necessary
- Condensate drainage
AC Tune-Ups in Worthington, Ohio
Items such as regularly changing your filter and scheduling routine maintenance are good practices for any system. In addition, we recommend that your air conditioner tune-up once a year. If you’re dealing with a design that’s not producing enough air or not turning on, it’s time to schedule a visit from a technician.
New Air Conditioner Installation and Replacement in Worthington, OH
Buying a significant appliance, let alone one that cools your entire house, is never easy. So if you live in Worthington, Ohio, or the Central Ohio area, give us a call to start that process today. Use the zipcode map below to check and see if we’re in your area.
At Fire & Ice, we take pride in doing the work correctly the first time, every time. Whether it’s a repair, a replacement, a new installation, or a cleaning, we have the expertise and knowledge to get your system working to provide maximum comfort to your home. If you’re in Worthington, OH, or the surrounding area, reach out to us today.