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When it comes to air conditioning, Washington DC homeowners might not consider it a necessity, but when the sweltering summer heat is in full bloom, those who have it are thankful to say the least. DC residents looking to beat the heat will find that there are several ways to go, and each has its own benefits and drawbacks. If you are considering installing air conditioning for the first time, or you are simply unhappy with the performance of your current air conditioner there are several things to consider if you want the most effective system for your situation.
Window Unit Air Conditioning in Washington DC
For any DC homeowner, window units provide one or two rooms of relief during sweaty summer heat-waves. To be sure, using 5 or more window units to cool an entire house is far from the most effective route, but if you are only looking to cool one or two rooms, window air conditioners are a pretty good choice. They are relatively inexpensive, free to install, and can work wonders when it comes to cooling small spaces. If you are looking for a comprehensive system that will cool your whole house, however, window units are as inefficient as turning each one on and off individually is inconvenient.
Washington DC Air Conditioning for the Whole House
Central A/C is by far the best option for DC homeowners who want to cool not just one or two rooms, but the entire house. Though significantly more expensive than just purchasing 7 or 8 window units, the convenience and effectiveness of central air makes it a far more desirable choice. It is also important to consider that by installing central air conditioning, Washington DC homeowners are making an investment in their future in addition to making their homes more comfortable. Installing central air will raise your property value, make your home more marketable, and will also run more efficiently (and be easier to turn on and off) than simply adding a few window units. The initial installation price is hefty, but when you consider the benefits, many find that it is well worth the price.
If you already have central air, but your condenser unit is a decade or two old, there's a good chance that you can benefit from replacing it. Newer condensers are far more efficient than their predecessors, and they are getting more efficient every day. With energy costs climbing each year, investing in a new condenser will make summer utility bills less of a burden. In some cases, these units can actually pay for themselves over time!
Washington DC Air Conditioners for Older Homes
Since conventional central A/C systems require the installation of large amounts of ductwork, some people who have tried to install central air in the past may have been told that their homes are simply not good candidates due to structural and budget constraints. For those who own older properties in or around Washington DC, air conditioning that can effectively cool an entire house, but doesn't require the huge amount of ductwork as a conventional unit are now available. Ductless air conditioning performs more effectively and more efficiently than window units, but because of their design, they can go where conventional systems cannot. Ductless units are a much more permanent cooling solution than window units, but are an investment that is much more akin to installing a conventional central air conditioning system.
Washington DC Air Conditioning and Heating in One
Another alternative in Washington DC air conditioning is the heat pump. Able to cool during the summer and heat during the winter through a single system of ductwork, heat pumps are very convenient as well as efficient. Some heat pumps are better at cooling and others are better at heating, and they generally do not get as hot or cold as do separate heating and cooling systems. However, in the balanced and moderate climate of Washington DC, air conditioning and heating combined into one unit can be very appealing.
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Energy-Efficient Washington DC Air Conditioning
Homeowners who haven't heard of Energy Star are few and far between in Washington DC. Air conditioning is one of the biggest energy users in the American household, and there's simply no reason to spend money on a new A/C unit that won't reduce your energy consumption. Since Washington DC air conditioning is not necessary for a large portion of the year, you have a little more leeway than a homeowner in Texas or Florida would. However, because Energy Star rated A/C systems can reduce your summer time energy consumption significantly, there's a good chance a slightly larger investment in a more efficient unit can pay for itself in no time at all!
Washington DC Air Conditioning Contractors
No matter what kind of unit you choose for air conditioning, Washington DC is too large of a place to easily find a reputable contractor in the phone book. The huge number of Washington DC air conditioning contractors who place ads in the yellow pages can be extremely difficult to sift through; and even if you find an ad you like, there's really no way to tell if it was placed by a reputable company. Here's where HomeAdvisor can help! Every one of the contractors we'll match you with has passed through our ten-step screening process; you won't find any fly-by-night operations through HomeAdvisor! Additionally, every homeowner that uses our service has the opportunity to rate and review the contractor they were matched with. By looking through their comments, you'll get a much clearer idea of what the company is like than you'd ever get from a phone book ad!