Every summer, we get emergency calls from customers who have a major air conditioning outage on their hands.
In these types of urgent situations, our goal is simply to restore cooling to the home or business as quickly as possible, even if it means replacing the entire A/C system.
But in an ideal situation, we wouldn’t recommend rushing ahead to replace an air conditioner without taking some preparatory steps first.
The five steps we recommend in this post can deliver cleaner, purer air at a lower monthly utility cost right from the start.
Step 1: Have your air ducts professionally cleaned and sanitized
Professional air duct cleaning is not a new service, but only in the last five years or so has this type of thorough cleaning and sanitizing service begun to receive the credit it is due.
Imagine if you didn’t dust your counters or vacuum your carpets for 5 or 10 years straight. What do you think they would look (and smell) like? Probably pretty awful, right?
It is so easy to forget all about maintaining your air duct system, because you can’t see it easily. But you rely on your air ducts to move cooled air to each room in your home or business, and over time, the insides of those ducts can get mighty dusty and dirty.
If you haven’t had your air ducts cleaned and sanitized and it is time to install a new air conditioner, this is the right time to professionally clean your ducts so your new air conditioner can function at peak efficiency.
Step 2: Seal and insulate your duct system
Uninsulated, leaking, sagging ductwork is a given if you have an older network of air ducts.
If your air duct system is really old, you may have what HVAC contractors lovingly refer to as a “Ductopus,” a system of overlapping, crisscrossing ducts that looks more like a game of Twister gone wrong than an air conduction system.
Sorting out your air ducts, sealing up any leaks in the connection points or siding and then insulating each duct will extend the useful life of your new air conditioner, trim your monthly energy bill and ensure you get more even airflow to each room.
It probably doesn’t sound like a lot of fun to spend your weekend working on your ducts. But how about this for some motivation!
Energy Star states that taking the time to seal and insulate ducts can save you as much as 20 percent on your annual heating and cooling efficiency!
Step 3: Weatherstrip your windows, doors and other areas where you have air leaks
Weatherstripping is a project that can often be done over a weekend with supplies easily found at any local home repair store.
While there is something to be said for the natural ventilation that cracks and leaks can provide, these leaks also make it much harder to control the purity and quality of your indoor air. They also drive up your power bill, especially in times of extreme heat or cold.
Perhaps most importantly, sealing up cracks and leaks and adding weatherstripping can block entry points where unwelcome visitors (bugs, pests, rodents) may try to gain entry.
Step 4: Add a heat recovery ventilator
Once you have sealed and weatherstripped areas where you previously had air leaks, your home or business will be much more airtight. This is great for trimming your power bill, keeping out pests and improving your indoor air quality.
But it’s not so great when it comes to facilitating ventilation. Enter the heat recovery ventilator, invented to do mechanically what the new breed of airtight homes and workplaces no longer does naturally.
But it is better than any natural ventilation ever could be, because along with ventilating your space, it also balances humidity levels, removes airborne toxins and conserves energy.
Heat recovery ventilators are such valuable additions to modern HVAC systems that Ontario now requires all new construction throughout Toronto to include a heat recovery ventilator in the building plans.
Step 5. Choose your A/C installation contractor with care
The last thing you want is to complete all four of the prior steps here, select a new energy-efficient air conditioning system and then find that your HVAC technician hasn’t installed it properly!
Energy Star states that improper HVAC installation can cause you to lose up to 30 percent of your new air conditioner’s operating efficiency, essentially negating all the benefits of upgrading to a new A/C system.
As well, if you are planning to apply for any energy-efficiency upgrade rebates or credits, these are typically contingent upon being able to show proof of proper installation by a province-approved HVAC contractor.
Your choice of contractor is also vital because if you do want to apply for credits or rebates to help recoup the costs of your investment, your contractor generally needs to apply for these on your behalf. Only a province-approved contractor can do this for you.
Is a New Air Conditioner In Your Future?
Is your current HVAC system showing signs of old age? If you need help budgeting and planning ahead toward your investment in a new air conditioning system, we can help!
Shipton’s Heating & Cooling is an Ontario-approved HVAC contractor with nearly a century of expertise with all makes and models of HVAC systems.
We can help you with proper air conditioning sizing, installation and all the necessary preparatory work to ensure you get the most efficient operation from your new system.
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