Bell Home Solutions Spring 2014 Newsletter
A Remodeling Checklist: Preparing for Your Remodeling Project
It doesn’t matter whether you built your home from scratch or you invested in a fixer–upper. The fact of the matter is that many homeowners eventually reach a point where some sort of remodeling project is desired or, in some cases, necessary. Regardless of how well prepared you are and how well regarded your remodeling contractor is, there is always some stress involved in any remodeling project. From a bathroom extension to a complete overhaul of your kitchen or the entire first level of your home, the amount of preparation that you do will have a major impact on how smoothly the experience goes for you. Here are a few tips from the pros on our team to help ensure that you are as prepared as possible for everything to come with your remodeling project.
Choose Your Contractor Wisely
Your home may well be the biggest investment that you ever make in your entire life. Do not put that investment at risk by entrusting your remodeling services to an under–qualified party. Choosing the right contractor is not a decision to take lightly, nor should it be rushed. Read reviews of local contractors, discuss past experiences with friends and neighbors, and never hesitate to ask your contractor for references. If they hesitate to connect you with previous clients, there is probably a reason for doing so. It is better to take the time now to find the right contractor than to discover that you made the wrong choice at the end of the project.
What is SEER rating and why is it important?
Your entire home cooling system is much more than the air conditioning unit: it includes the ductwork, electrical circuitry, and also structural elements of your house like insulation and the way the rooms are organized. But the energy efficiency of your cooling system is in large part determined by the energy efficiency of the air conditioner. Having a high–efficiency unit goes a long way to ensuring your home is cooled effectively and efficiently.
Every AC unit that is manufactured is tested and given a SEER rating by the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (ARI). The acronym stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and it measures the total cooling output (measured in British thermal units, or BTUs) divided by the electrical input (measured in watt–hours) during a season. The higher the rating the better the energy–efficiency. As of January 2006, the US requires that home air conditioning systems built after 2005 require a SEER rating of at least 13. An increased SEER rating often comes at a premium. Efficiency requires added mechanical complexity with larger coils and multiple compressors, the cost reflects as much.
However, replacing an older, inefficient unit may be a cost–effective option for your home. For example, if your AC unit requires frequent repairs accompanied with a low SEER rating, it may be more cost–effective over the span of the next decade or so, to invest in a newer model. In this case, the more efficient unit will pay for itself in the years to come, and you’ll have the added advantage of an often quieter and more “green” unit. The installation of units with high SEER ratings may also take advantage of utility rebates and governmental tax credits.
There are recent developments in air conditioning technology that boast very high SEER ratings. Mini ductless home units can be available with SEER ratings up to 27. They hang high on the wall or suspended from a ceiling. They offer customized zone control of your home’s cooling system and do not require ductwork.
Remember that your SEER rating, however excellent, is only as useful as your ductwork, insulation and the care with which you maintain your system. Preventive maintenance on an older system can often reduce your energy costs without a system replacement. If you think your air conditioner can do better, or if you’d like to hear more about SEER rating and how it affects your home, call a local air conditioning technician today.