How Can Homeowners Benefit from Installing Central Air?
Sometime box fans in windows don’t bring the relief that you seek on the hottest days. With the latest summers continuing to break temperature-related records, central air conditioning will bring you the ultimate in comfort, efficiency and savings. By knowing how central A/Cs work and the benefits that you’ll enjoy, you’ll be better able to determine if this home upgrade is right for you.
How Central Air Conditioners Work
A central air conditioner circulates conditioned air through a home via a series of ducts. The cooled, dried air travels from the air conditioner into the rooms in your home via supply registers and ducts—the opening in floors, walls or ceilings covered by metal grills. Return registers and ducts in your home remove the warm air in your home and send it to the A/C. As the air circulates in your home, it passes through a filter that removes dust, pollen and other allergens. In addition to cooling warm air, A/C units also dehumidify the air, so your home feels comfortable on muggy days.
Central Air Conditioner Types
- Packaged central air conditioning: In a packaged unit, the A/C’s condenser, compressor and evaporator are installed in a large cabinet that HVAC technicians place on a concrete slab near your home or on the roof. In this arrangement, return and supply ducts run through the home’s walls or roof and connect with the cooling unit outdoors. Some packaged central air conditioners also come with a natural gas furnace or heating coils that serve as a central heater.
- Split-system air conditioner: Split-systems have an outdoor cabinet and indoor cabinet. The outdoor cabinet houses the compressor and condenser, while the evaporator is in the indoor cabinet. Some split-system air conditioners also have a furnace or part of a heat pump. Homeowners who already have a furnace usually install split-systems.
When shopping for a central air conditioning unit, consider its seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) and energy efficiency ratio. These ratings tell you how efficiently a unit uses energy. Higher ratings indicate greater energy efficiency. Packaged central air conditioners with an ENERGY STAR label have an EER of at least 11 and SEER of at least 14. Similarly, split-system A/C units that qualify for an ENERGY STAR label have an EER of at least 12 and SEER of at least 14.5.
The label from the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) goes beyond ENERGY STAR ratings and assigns four tiers for energy-efficient central A/C models. CEE Tier 0 units have EER and SEER ratings that meets minimum ENERGY STAR qualifications. CEE Tier 3 units have the greatest EER and SEER ratings.
Benefits of Central Air Conditioning
- Improved aesthetics: A central A/C’s working parts are on parts of your property instead of in a window or on a wall. You maintain the view from the inside your home and the property’s curb appeal at the same time.
- More space: Ductless and window air conditioning units take up space on a wall and window. For the units to operate well, the space surrounding them must remain clear. Central A/C units do not take up any living space inside your home.
- Quieter: Central air conditioners are quieter than other cooling units because the noisiest components—the fan, compressor and condenser—are in the outdoor cabinet.
- Convenient to operate: Instead of a series of knobs and buttons, you control a central A/C unit with a user-friendly thermostat. Programmable thermostats make using your HVAC system even simpler because you can set different temperatures for specific times of day, which saves energy.
- Improved comfort: Instead of cooling one room, a central air conditioner evenly cools all the rooms in your home.
- Improved indoor air quality: The air filters in A/C units remove many pollutants and allergens from the air.
- Increased home value: A well-maintained central A/C may increase the value of your home.
A central air conditioner brings peace of mind. Instead of worrying about how to cool your home when the meteorologist predicts skyrocketing heat, you can comfortably focus on what you enjoy the most about summer. Because an A/C is a large investment in your home that requires proper sizing and installation, it is always best to work with a licensed HVAC contractor. AAA Heating & Cooling has proudly served thousands of clients in the Portland-metro area since 1961. We tailor comfort systems to your exact needs and guide you throughout the entire process—from choosing the best unit to ongoing annual maintenance. Make this the summer that you stay cool. Contact AAA to schedule a complimentary consultation and learn more.