Orlando, Florida residents looking for a new or replacement air-conditioning system really need to do some homework. Please keep in mind that Florida HVAC units really NEVER stop working. They are used for cool air in summer and warm air in winter. Therefore, the best price is definitely not always the best deal. all words/terms used to educate and in some cases to confuse use you. Florida is full of great and fair contractors. However, your best friend is information. First some terms and what they mean…
SEER: is the ratio of the cooling output of an air conditioner over a typical cooling season, divided by the energy it consumed in Watt-Hours. (Minimum Seer in Florida is 14 but you can buy a unit up to 21 or 25. Higher SEER value means more efficiency and a lower electrical bill)
BTU: British Thermal Units, is a traditional unit of heat; it is defined as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit
(12,000 btu equals one ton)
Ton or Tonnage: is the cooling capacity of an air conditioning system. One ton is equal to the amount of heat required (288,000 Btu) to melt one ton of ice in a 24-hour period. A one-ton air conditioner is rated at 12,000 Btu per hour (288,000/24). A two-ton unit would be rated at 24,000 Btu per hour. (as you add more square footage, your tonnage should rise- at approx. 450-550 sq ft per ton)
When discussing a new or replacement system you want to have the SEER and TON RATINGS, in writing, on your proposal. You will use this information to help compare one contractor to the next. It is also important to VERIFY this information once the contractor has installed the equipment. Unfortunately, not everyone remembers what they promised 🙂 .
BRANDS to consider (pricing will vary with model, SEER, features, etc…)
- Day and Night Brand (yes this is a real brand)
- Mitsubishi (popular ductless brand)
Companies (objective list of popular companies in Orlando Market- no affiliations)
- Rainaldi Air Conditioning
- Polar Express Air Conditioning and Heating
- Ace Solves It All
- Four Seasons Air Conditioning and Heating
- Frank Gay Services
- Air Flow Designs
When bidding an air conditioning system, it is wise have a list of questions for your contractors. This helps to keep the bids apples to apples and creates a level playing field for all. It also shows the contractor that this is a serious process and not just a quick-quote. These are some good questions to ask…
Licensed, bonded and insured? (if small operator, verify these)
How will you measure my home? Manual J?
Will the indoor and outdoor units be matched brands and capacity?
New refrigerant lines?
Will you inspect my ductwork for capacity and wear/tear?
Will you supply a programmable thermostat? SMART type?
Will you consider and suggest adding zones?
Will you help facilitate any equipment rebates?
Proper disposal of existing equipment and refrigerant?
Offer proper commissioning of system? (how to use, change filters, exchange manuals, proper maintenance schedule for the future, etc..)
Offer warranty service and for how long post install (in writing)?
What is payment schedule? (never make full payment until complete)
Our entire office (all Central Florida natives) agreed upon these action points when considering a new or replacement AC system
- Speak to your friends/neighbors about contractors
- Experience counts
- Consider using Angie’s List (now free to join)
- You can’t fake good reviews
- Use a larger company that has an internet presence
- They won’t want an issue to surface
- Consider longevity/quality vs. price
- Pay now or pay later