If your heating and air conditioning unit is 15 years old or older, it may be time to look into upgrading. This is obviously an important investment for the comfort of your family members, but there may also be regulations and safety concerns to consider.
An old HVAC unit won’t keep you cool in the summer or warm in the winter
Don’t turn that dial just yet! If you find yourself turning the dial often during hot summer months, or cold winter months, your old unit could be getting the best of you. Most of the time all this will affect is your energy bill.
If you’ve begun shopping around you may have come across the term “SEER” or “Seasonal energy efficiency ratio.” The SEER rating measures the effectiveness of your unit with a formula that divides cooling output by total electric energy. The higher the unit’s SEER rating the more energy efficient it is, and the older the unit, the more likely it has a lower SEER rating.
Many companies have used technological advances to their benefit utilizing ductless HVAC systems as well as ground-based systems that both equate to higher SEER ratings. These technologies have only been available in the last 5 years or so, so if your unit is older than 15, you are most likely missing out on the best technology can offer!
Potential new regulations for HVAC units
Along with technological advances usually comes updated regulations to match the changes. Regulations also change with the continuous change in climate, whether that be political, social, or actual physical. The California Energy Commission has fairly regular changes occurring within California Energy Standards, and it’s important that you understand what you need to pay attention to when upgrading your HVAC unit.
Any of the following changes or upgrades require some level of testing for California Energy Standards:
- New Whole Split or Packaged System (no ducts added or replaced)
- New Evaporator Coil (cooling coil), Condenser Coil, or Outdoor Condensing Unit
- New Furnace (air handler)
- New Compressor, Refrigerant Metering Device
- Replacement of Some Ducts, >40 feet of new or replacement
- Replacement of all Ducts
Read more here: California Energy Commission website
There is a lot of information that can be found on current energy standards, but let us worry about that for you. As experienced professionals in this industry, we assure you that all energy standards will be met with all upgrades we install in your home.
Safety concerns for older units
It may not have occurred to you that older, inefficient HVAC units are not just potentially wasting your money, but they could host various safety concerns to you and your family. Air conditioning units create cold air, which means there is condensation as a part of that process. If your unit is older and not functioning properly, excess condensation could cause a build up on, mold, fungi, and bacteria. In addition, older units with ineffective ducts could allow in particles from pollution, pollen, and other outside elements causing respiratory problems.
A second large concern is that older units can cause house fires. This can occur in newer units too if they are not properly maintained. Various factors can cause HVAC units to catch fire, such as faulty wiring, incorrect voltage range, old motor bearings, and dirt and debris buildup. Regular maintenance and upgrading of older HVAC units can help prevent fires.
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