Central heating and air conditioning is currently the most common type of HVAC system in the United States. But this type of heating and cooling comes with some caveats that are important to understand before buying a home or upgrading your HVAC. Here are 5 common issues with central AC and how N.E.T.R., Inc. can help you discover air conditioning alternatives.
1. Hefty Energy Bills
Central HVAC is a relatively inefficient method of heating or cooling a space, which leads to high energy bills, especially during the summer in July and August and in January and February in the winter. This is because ducts have lots of cracks and small spaces where air can seep out into the attic or ceiling crawlspace.
To get your home to a comfortable temperature, you will often need to set the thermostat higher or lower than the desired temperature due to air inefficiency. Your system has to work a lot harder, which increases your electric consumption.
2. Poor Air Quality
Central HVAC ducts are made of metal or in some cases of poor quality installations, heavy-duty foil and aluminum tape. The cracks and crevices in the ducts not only allow air leakage, but they also allow dust and debris in. Your dusty, dirty attic air is forced through your ducts and into your home, decreasing your overall air quality.
The quality of the air inside your home is important, since most people spend the majority of their time indoors and much of that time inside their homes. Low air quality can cause allergy symptoms and can aggravate lung conditions like asthma.
3. Expensive Maintenance
Central heating and air is often expensive to maintain. Not only does your entire system need maintenance periodically, you also need to have your ducts cleaned often to minimize the amount of dirty air the system puts out. If you forget to clean the ducts or don’t have the funds, the quality of your air will degenerate even further. Repairs can also be expensive, especially if your system is older or doesn’t have in-stock parts. There’s a lot to maintain with central HVAC and a lot of things that can go wrong with the outdoor unit, the furnace, the A/C, and the ducts.
4. Inconsistent Temperatures
Because central HVAC is so inefficient, it has difficulty maintaining consistent temperatures throughout a space. It’s not uncommon for a home to have hot or cold spots depending on the season and the settings of your thermostat. Older ducted systems often struggle to keep up with extremely hot or cold days, both of which occur frequently on the East coast.
You may find that you are chilled during the winter when your HVAC can’t keep up, or even during the summer when your HVAC is working too hard. If your HVAC lags in the summer or gets overworked in the winter, you’ll be too warm.
5. Difficulty Adding On
If you add onto your home with a ducted system, you will need to have additional ductwork installed. This is usually very expensive to do compared to the cost of using a window air conditioner or even adding a single ductless unit. You also risk damage to existing parts of your home, since the new ductwork will have to be connected to the old. If the connections aren’t secure and air-tight, it could create a pool of hot or cold air in your attic.
Alternatives to Central AC
There are two primary alternatives to a central HVAC system: window ACs and ductless mini splits. Window units are cheap to buy but expensive to run, noisy, and detract from your home’s aesthetic. They take up valuable window real estate and have to be uninstalled every winter and reinstalled in the summer.
Ductless HVAC is an ideal heating and cooling alternative to a ducted system and provides uniform temperatures and low operating costs. They can be easily installed in sunrooms or other additions and offer both heating and cooling in the same unit. Ductless cassettes are easy to clean and maintain, and they improve your overall air quality.
Contact N.E.T.R., Inc. Today
At N.E.T.R., Inc., our goal is to help our customers achieve total home comfort during the summer and winter. We have a wide variety of heating and cooling options available and can help you choose the right HVAC system for you. To learn more or to schedule a home visit to get a quote, contact our office by dialing (781) 933-6387.