Charleston is one of the best places to live here in America and according to some sources, it’s the actually the best.
Considering all of the beautiful sites, great restaurants and other attractions in the area, it’s not hard to see why we’re one of the fastest growing areas in the US, in terms of people moving into the Lowcountry.
If you happen to be one of those people moving into the greatness that is the Charleston area, most likely HVAC and air conditioning aren’t high on your priority list. However, with our hottest months upon us (as they do every year), you’re going to want to at least put HVAC on your radar for your to-do list.
Even if you’ve been living in Charleston for some time and haven’t really thought about your home comfort and air conditioning, odds are good that the time will come that you’ll definitely need to; often major breakdowns occur during the worst times in the summer.
We know that HVAC might be a bit of a buzz-kill for you as there are so many wonderful things you should be thinking about, so to help you make this process quick, we’ve compiled 5 of the most important questions (and answers) for you to review that will help you get back to the more fun things in life.
1. Should You Try Ductless Air Conditioning In Your Home?
What is ductless air conditioning? It’s slowly becoming one of the more popular HVAC options for homeowners here in Charleston, especially those with older homes or those that are adding additions onto their home that are hard to tap into their current ductwork.
Essentially ductless air conditioning is exactly how it sounds — it’s air conditioning/heating areas of your home without the need to use your air ducts. A ductless unit is placed in a room or other living area on the wall that is attached to an outdoor unit (with conduit). This ductless unit then can be set at your desired temperature using a remote control. Since your system isn’t trying to “push” air through your air duct network, they generally run much more efficiently than traditional central air conditioners and give you more granular control over comfort for each area in your home.
As mentioned above, these are incredibly handy for cooling/heating areas of your home that don’t currently have access to your ductwork or if you plan on adding onto your home and your current ductwork is hard to tap into. Also these are excellent for pool houses, garages and in rooms where you need added control over heating/cooling (you might have a particular “warm” room or “cold” room, for example).
They are engineered with a sleek design that come in a few different colors so that you can match it to your current interior design motif. Also they operate quietly, often quieter than older, traditional units (you probably can hear when your older unit “kicks on” when operating.
So is ductless air conditioning right for your home? If you think you can take advantage or would benefit from the features listed above, then we think that ductless is a great match for your Charleston home.
2. Should You Go With A Traditional Central Air Conditioning System Or A Heat Pump?
For many people moving from colder climates, coming to South Carolina might be the first time you hear the term “heat pump” used when referring to a home’s HVAC system. So what is a heat pump and how does it differ from a traditional central air conditioner?
One the surface, heat pumps function exactly how traditional air conditioners work: they take the air in your home, condition/cool it, and return it into your home.
Heat pumps however add the extra function of being able to warm your home during the colder months here in the Lowcountry. They’re able to draw the warmth from the air outside and use it to warm your interior. Heat pumps don’t generally work very well when temperatures hit extreme lows, however here in South Carolina since the temperatures don’t dip very far (except for those odd winters that happen once every 30 years), a heat pump is more that suffice to keep you warm in the winter time.
Because of the duality of its operation, a heat pump can save you from needing extra heating components & operation (they simply transfer the heat instead of creating it saving you money also), so they’re one of the most common types of units you’ll see around in Charleston.
If you prefer the traditional setup of an air conditioner/furnace HVAC arrangement, then a heat pump might not be right for you.
Otherwise, if you want to save some money and have a heat pump at your disposal for year-round operation, then getting a heat pump would be perfect for your Lowcountry home.
3. Is Getting A High-Efficiency HVAC System Worth It Here?
We’ll be quick with the answer to this question. If you’re looking to save money on your monthly power bills, then a high-efficiency model is the best way to do this.
With the hot, extended summers here in Charleston, operating expenses that your HVAC system will tally will make up a large part of your electricity bills. Thus if you have a high-efficiency system, you’ll generally expect to pay less each month for those bills.
We’ve seen energy bills drop by as much as nearly one-third to one-half after installing high-efficiency systems. They are generally more expensive, however if you’re cutting your monthly power bills down by that much each month, recouping that initial investment goes pretty quickly, especially in the heat of the Lowcountry.
4. Is An HVAC Maintenance Plan Important For My System In Charleston?
Every HVAC system you’ll encounter has a particular lifespan — just like any mechanical device. And just like any other piece of machinery you own (like your car, for example), regular maintenance is needed to not only extend the lifespan of your system, but also keep it running with the highest efficiency.
Plain and simple, signing up for an HVAC maintenance plan is a smart move, no matter where your HVAC system lies in it’s lifespan. Since maintenance plans generally include bi-annual inspections (winter and summer), finding and resolving problems before they become large problems becomes much easier.
Maintenance plans can also include reduced cost repairs, priority scheduling and more features that will benefit you in case of an emergency breakdown.
As mentioned earlier, the summer months can be brutal here in Charleston, not just on yourself but also on your system. Having a maintenance plan in place is best way to keep your system running in tip-top shape when the temperatures start rising.
5. What Is The Best HVAC Company In Charleston?
There are several things to consider when determining the best HVAC company for your home in the Lowcountry. Here are a few of those factors:
- 1. Licensing and Insurance: make sure your company has both in place and current.
- 2. N.A.T.E. Certification: North American Technician Excellence certification; this ensures you get top-notch, well trained techs working on your system.
- 3. Good Reviews: check Facebook, Google, Yelp, et. al. and see how other people’s experience with the company went.
- 4. Answering Your Questions & Concerns: does the company patiently and thoroughly review all of your options and give you honest advice about your HVAC system?
If the company can fulfill all of these requirements, you’ll be on your way to finding the best HVAC company in Charleston.
If you’re new to the area, we hope you find it is as special as we here in the Lowcountry do, and should you need any assistance with your HVAC concerns, review the questions above and you’ll be well on your way to having a comfortable stay in Charleston for years to come.