It's usually easy to tell when your HVAC system is on its last legs. Compressors and other critical components approaching the end of their lives will typically fail more often and require increasingly costly repairs. Unfortunately, it's not always as easy to understand if you should upgrade your ailing system or replace it with an equivalent one.
If you're wondering whether it's time for an upgrade, then this article will help you to evaluate your home's current HVAC situation. Keep reading to discover how you can determine if your old system's capacity is no longer up to the task of keeping your home cool and comfortable.
Consider Changes to Your Home
Air conditioners work by removing heat from your home's air. The larger your home, the more work the air conditioner must perform to keep it cool successfully. Your home's original designers chose HVAC components based on its square footage and heat load from other sources. Although AC equipment has improved over time, the essential calculations for AC capacity have not changed significantly.
Additions or expansions to your home can change those calculations, however. If you've added square footage to your house or drastically altered its interior configuration, then the original design of your HVAC system may no longer be sufficient. Be sure to discuss these issues with your HVAC contractor so that they can determine the best capacity system for your home's current layout.
Scrutinize Your System's Current Effectiveness
Do you frequently keep your thermostat set to a lower temperature because your home always seems to be too warm? Do you find that your AC runs continuously and never reaches your desired temperature? These can be signs of an undersized system, and they are a good indication that you need to step up to higher capacity equipment to cool your home efficiently.
On the other hand, a system that turns itself on and off too frequently may be oversized for your home. Rapid cycling wears out AC components more quickly and can result in humid, uncomfortable air. Some home builders try to "go big" and install too much system for the size of a home, and in these cases, it may make sense to step down to a lower capacity unit.
Look At Your Usage
If your home currently only has a single zone, then consider how you spend a typical day. Cooling portions of your home that are unoccupied is wasteful and can put added strain on your AC system. In situations such as this, it may be a worthwhile idea to retrofit one or more zones into your HVAC system. Although this isn't always cheap, you may save significant money on your utility bills in the future.
Upgrading an old system is an excellent way to make your home more comfortable and increase its resale value. Be sure to always consider potential improvements before making any final HVAC replacement decisions.