CONGRATULATIONS! YOU ARE ABOUT TO BE THE PROUD OWNER OF A NEW AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEM!
When choosing your new system, what factors should you consider?
There are quite a few brands out there and many of them are of fairly high quality. What should you look for?
*What kind of warranty do they offer?
The minimum should be 5 years on all parts. Some companies even offer 10 years!
Trane, which just celebrated its 100th birthday in 2013, offers a longer compressor warranty (12 years) https://www.trane.com/Index.aspx
Amana offers a lifetime warranty for its compressor! http://www.amana-hac.com/Warranty/StandardWarranty/tabid/1526/Default.aspx
Warranties for high efficiency systems tend to be longer (10 years) than those for lower efficiency systems (usually 5 years).
*What kind of space do you want to condition?
For those of you blessed with beautiful additions and/or sunrooms with no ductwork installation option, the Mitsubishi Ductless split system (Mr. Slim) offers a highly energy efficient (up to 21 SEER) and extremely quiet (an almost unheard of as low as 19 decibels!!) solution. These systems feature either a wall or ceiling mount and a wireless thermostat as an additional option. Some models include a wireless controller.
The efficiency of air conditioning systems is measured in “SEER” (seasonal energy efficiency ratio). Today’s industry minimum is 13 (SEER) and goes up to 21(SEER). Not just on Earth Day (coming up April 22nd), but every day in Montgomery County, Maryland, Pepco offers a money back incentive to those who purchase energy efficient, qualifying systems (up to $750!!). Washington DC customers are eligible for a rebate as well (up to $500!). A higher SEER number usually translates into lower electrical bills as well as a better-built machine.
Another environment-friendly feature that has surfaced with the gradual elimination of R-22 refrigerant from the market, is the use of R-410A refrigerant. The Goodman DSXC18 is one of many brands that now use this chlorine-free refrigerant, which spares the ozone layer further damage. This model has the added and impressive benefit of having a lifetime warranty as well as a 10-year warranty on parts.
For PEPCO’s special high efficiency offers in Maryland, see the chart below, taken directly from PEPCO’s website. Caveat: PEPCO tends to change its policies fairly often so, whether you live in Silver Spring, Bethesda or Shepherd Park, it is worthwhile to check their current policy to determine which rebates are available.
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Efficiency Program
Overview –Get up to $750 in HVAC Rebates!
Pepco is offering up to $750 in rebates to help customers increase energy efficiency and reduce the cost of heating and cooling their homes. You havemany great ways to save on HVAC equipment and services—the choice is yours!
- Performance Tune-up: Get a $100 rebate for a Performance Tune-up of your electric air source heat pump or central air conditioning system.
- Duct Sealing: Get a $250 rebate for sealing your duct distribution system.
- New Heating and Cooling Equipment: Get up to $500 when you upgrade existing equipment to high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment.
- Geothermal Heat Pump: Get a $500 rebate when you buy a geothermal heat pump.
- Ductless Mini Split System: Get a $300 rebate when you buy a ductless mini split air conditioner or ductless mini split heat pump system.
Choose the rebate that’s best for you—you’ll get cash back now and enjoy continued energy savings in the future! You could be eligible for more than one rebate if, for example, you have multiple systems in your home.
Want a good night’s sleep and happy neighbors to boot? Your system will dwell outside, so be sure to look for a fairly quiet system. The noise level of air conditioning systems ranges all the way from 65 decibels (fairly quiet) to 88 decibels (the sound of a motorcycle from 30 feet away). While systems with the lowest noise levels tend to cost more, your neighborhood’s and your own peace and quiet is well worth it.
Price will vary depending on the first three factors. Most brands offer different models and the prices vary by model. Those models boasting higher SEER ratings and lower noise levels are, not surprisingly, more expensive than those with lower SEER ratings and higher noise levels.
Carrier’s Infinity 21 has an extremely low decibel level (65 db – similar to the noise level of normal conversation) and features a SEER of up to 21 (the highest energy efficiency level possible) as of April of 2014.
The Bryant Evolution is slightly less expensive and features a SEER of up to 20 and a db level of 68 (as quiet as a vacuum). Like the Goodman DSXC18, the Bryant Evolution also runs on R-410 refrigerant, also known as Puron.
As you prepare to show off your new lawn furniture and sunbathe poolside, don’t forget to show off your chic new air conditioning unit, featured in multiple colors, heights and shapes.