New Orleans is known for its warm weather and although there are many perks to that sunny weather, one of the downsides is that New Orleaneans need to use a lot of air conditioning in their homes, and they need a sturdy air conditioner to get the job done year-round.
Surgi’s Heating and Air Conditioning has some advice on how to choose the right air conditioning and heating unit for a New Orleans area home, and how to maintain that air conditioning unit.
What are the latest trends in home air conditioning and heating technologies? Are there new air conditioning products that New Orleans consumers should be aware of?
The latest trends are variable and multi-speed equipment to better meet the conditioning of the home throughout the year. With our high humidity here in New Orleans, having the unit run with sufficient time to control the humidity in your home is the most important job your AC unit does.
Indoor air quality is also a very important issue. Allergies affect over 80 percent of the population. Having an air conditioning system that can rid your home of unwanted pollens and mold and mildew spores is the second-largest change in your air conditioning system. Trane has the best system out there that can truly say it captures and kills mold, along with capturing pollens and dusts smaller than three microns.
To ensure that a South Louisiana home stays cool during the summer, what kind of maintenance is required on the home’s air conditioner?
Maintenance should be done at least once a year for two reasons. Efficiency is the No. 1 reason for the homeowner. A loss of 1 pound of refrigerant charge can cost you up to $40 a month in electrical charges. The second is the warranty. Most manufacturers are extending their warranties up to 10 years to the first homeowner. However, they must have the yearly maintenance to keep the 10-year warranty. Without proof of maintenance, the warranty reverts back to five years.
We register every unit we install so the manufacturer will actually send us reports notifying us if we have a customer out of compliance. So we can continue to contact a customer to bring them back in compliance. Part of our maintenance system is sending proof of service to the manufacturers of systems we install.
If a person’s air conditioner breaks during the summer, as commonly happens, how quickly can Surgi’s get to the home and do a repair? What kinds of repairs and other services does your company offer?
Surgi’s guarantees same day service to all of our customers who subscribe to our preventive maintenance programs. Currently, we have 14 field service technicians on the road and we normally get to all of our calls in the first day. During the extreme times, extreme temperatures or storms, sometimes we will get to them by the next business day. We always take care of elderly and health-impaired people with a priority. We cover everything to do with air conditioning, refrigeration, ventilation and duct work.
Although New Orleans is generally a warm place, it occasionally gets cool. What kind of heating does a New Orleans home need?
Most of the homes in South Louisiana do just fine with a heat pump. If you happen to have natural gas available, that is the best heating that you can get.
What’s the typical price range for a new, high-quality air conditioning unit? Does paying more for a higher-end air conditioner pay off in the long run?
The average cost for an air conditioning system is $6,500 on the low end up to $10,500 on the high end. And that’s after they receive all their rebates from the manufacturers and Entergy, which we are able to give them immediately. The more expensive units would be your variable and multi-speed units which, for the cost, does save you the most amount of money and give you the best comfort and healthy environment for your home. Surgi’s offers 0% interest financing through Wells Fargo on most systems at no additional charge. You will find that the energy savings that new systems provide will cover most, if not all, of the monthly financing payment.
How can shoppers determine which air conditioner would work best for their home?
That’s the job that’s left for the professionals. When we come out to the home, we will ask questions about how their existing unit works, if there are any hot spots or cold spots in the home that they would like to address, and, if necessary, we will do a complete heat load to determine what size air conditioning unit is correct for their home. That’s the only accurate way to determine what unit will work best for your home.
What humidity control, energy-efficiency and environmentally friendly features are available in air conditioning units?
For all of the units that we install, we offer optional digital, programmable thermostats, which over the years have become much easier to use. We’ll help the customer program it the first time and if they continue to use the program based upon their living conditions they can save as much as 5 percent additionally on their electric bill.
Should waterfront residents shop differently for air conditioners than people who live elsewhere in New Orleans? What, if any, special considerations apply to waterfront homeowners who need air conditioners?
Trane does have a specially coated unit to last longer on the beach, but Mother Nature is very difficult to beat, so homeowners need to be aware that once-a-year maintenance is not sufficient for beachside homeowners, and they should maintenance their systems twice a year.
How can New Orleans consumers ensure that they use their air conditioners in the most cost-effective, sustainable way?
The digital programmable thermostats that we offer with our systems, if the customer takes the time to program it for their lifestyles, that is the best way for the customer to control their air conditioning system in their home in the cost effective way.
What other tips do you have on air conditioner shopping and maintenance?
The lowest price is not always the best solution. Doing a proper maintenance and reporting back to the manufacturer that the system is maintained takes time above and beyond the service technician on the job site, and correctly sizing your home and looking at all the issues that you currently have and addressing them correctly takes time and expertise. You should get a detailed list on any proposal or maintenance which a company is offering you. We will always list all the items we address in our maintenance, and we will always give you a list of all the items we address when we are replacing your air conditioning system. All jobs are installed to parish code to ensure your insurance company would not cancel your homeowner’s policy. We stand behind our work, and have been providing quality service and installation in South Louisiana for 52 years.
Need a new system? Surgi’s can help. Need a healthier, more comfortable life? We can change the way you feel about your home.