Houston Heating, Cooling, and Electrical

Residential A/C & HVAC Services

A Residential A/C & HVAC System is Critical for Comfort

A residential A/C & HVAC system is mandatory when the heat or cold are at their worst. To keep the home comfortable regardless of the weather, homeowners need climate control technology that is reliable, efficient and powerful enough to handle the load. There are air conditioner manufacturers that can offer all three of those components, and if installed by a reputable contractor, a residential A/C & HVAC system can last for many years.

Which residential A/C & HVAC brands are worth considering?

There are more than a dozen major air conditioner brands and many of these brands are owned by the same parent company. It’s an unusual situation that isn’t seen in many other industries, and it can make it a bit tougher to tell brands apart, especially since various manufacturers use many of the same technologies. Fortunately, there are brands out there that have earned a strong reputation in the industry.

American Standard is one of the industry’s stalwarts, and has been for more than a century. They have a reputation for engineering quality and their systems are easy to install. That may not seem like a big deal, but the easier it is to install the system, the less it will cost the homeowner. American Standard also has a diverse set of products that vary in efficiency and value, so every homeowner can find a system that fits their budget and climate control needs.

Other standout brands include Goodman, Carrier, Daikin and Lennox. Goodman is right there with American Standard in reputation, and has been in Houston since 1954. Although acquired by Daikin in 2012, the Goodman brand remains a Houston fixture, as Daikin has built a massive, cutting-edge manufacturing facility just outside the city. Both Goodman and Daikin systems are built at this center, which should be encouraging for anyone who values quality engineering. Daikin has earned a lot of respect among contractors for their use of high-quality components and processes, and they are integrated into both brands.

Carrier is another reliable, highly recognizable brand and has a long history of industry-leading engineering and development. Its Slimline air conditioners are a novel technology for the industry, as they can be installed in places that standard compressors couldn’t go. No other residential A/C & HVAC brand has a similar offering.

Lennox is another brand worth mentioning, and it’s known for its use of advanced technologies in its air conditioners. For example, Lennox manufacturers a few variable speed compressors, and these have excellent potential in improving system efficiency. Variable speed compressors, when necessary, can switch into a lower speed mode that reduces output and energy use at the same time. In effect, the system only taxes the air conditioner as much as necessary to cool the home.

These brands should be the starting point for homeowners in search of a residential A/C & HVAC system. With strong reputations, quality engineering, industry-leading processes and advanced technology, homeowners can’t go wrong with these names.

How do residential A/C & HVAC systems work?

There are a variety of residential A/C & HVAC systems, but a ducted split-system is the most common and recognizable. It’s been proven over many decades of widespread use, and it’s still the type of air conditioner that residential property owners typically choose.

A ducted split-system consists of exterior and interior components. Outside, there’s the compressor, shielded by a protective cabinet and it’s responsible for condensing the refrigerant gas into liquid. Once the refrigerant is back into its liquid state, the compressor pumps it to the evaporator coil, which sits inside the home. The interior portion of the system consists of extensive ductwork, the evaporator coils and the furnace. The evaporator coil contains cold refrigerant, and this refrigerant is what absorbs heat from warm air inside the home. When the refrigerant has absorbed enough heat, it is transferred back to the exterior compressor unit, where the cycle starts over again.

The furnace is responsible for heating the home, and though it uses the same ductwork as the air conditioner, it doesn’t utilize the compressor or coils. Instead, burners combust oil or gas to create heat, which is transferred to the home’s airflow using a heat exchanger. This air is then pushed through the ducts and dispersed throughout the home.

Residential A/C & HVAC systems are among the most complicated and extensive technologies in the home, with components located throughout the home. For this reason, it’s critical that homeowners find an HVAC brand and contractor they can trust.

How to Choose the Right Residential A/C & HVAC System

Residential A/C & HVAC systems are available in many sizes and specifications, and homeowners must be particular in selecting them. The size of the system will have a major impact on how the system functions. This is why:

  1. The system is too small – When an undersized system is chosen for the home it doesn’t have the power to cool the building effectively, forcing the system to run constantly to try to keep up. This will drive up energy costs and wear the system down faster, resulting in escalating maintenance costs and early replacement. Worse, the system won’t keep the home comfortable.
  2. The system is too large – It may seem like an oversized air conditioner would be desirable, or at least wouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately, it is. An oversized air conditioner cools the home too quickly, so instead of running a full cycle, it must shut down prematurely. This forces the system into rapid on/off cycling, and that wastes a lot of energy. Also, because the home is cooled so quickly, the air conditioner doesn’t have time to remove sufficient humidity from the air. This can leave the home feeling less comfortable than it should.

Proper sizing, then, is essential. There are several ways to do this, including running some simple math. Specifically, multiply the home’s square footage by 30 and divide that number by 12,000. The result is the amount of tonnage the system needs to properly condition the house. If math isn’t your thing, or if you want a precise result, there are numerous reference charts online that handle the work. Of course, your contractor will provide expert input that will help make the right decision.

Size is one consideration with a system, and technology is another. Residential A/C & HVAC systems come with many technical specifications, and for homeowners, SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) is the number of importance. The SEER metric refers to an air conditioner’s efficiency by comparing the amount of cooling the system outputs to the amount of energy it uses. The higher the number, the better. What’s encouraging is that almost every new residential A/C & HVAC system, no matter its rating, will provide a significant efficiency boost over most existing air conditioners. Still, if energy efficiency is a priority, and it is for many, it’s best to target SEER ratings close to, or above 20. Even SEER ratings in the low teens, though, will provide respectable energy efficiency while also being less inexpensive upfront.

The other primary specification to consider is whether the system runs on a single stage or multistage compressor. The merits of multistage compressors have already been mentioned, but again, if the compressor can operate at multiple speeds, it will provide better efficiency. Single stage compressors are still a viable choice for many, though, because they tend to be easier to maintain.

It can be intimidating for homeowners to choose a residential A/C & HVAC system for their property, but it’s not as challenging as it may seem. There are several worthy air conditioner brands, and even among people with no industry experience, extensive research isn’t needed to find them. A reputable contractor is a valuable ally to have when it’s time for an upgrade, and can make the process transparent and easy to understand.

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