First, we tackle the obvious question. Do I need air conditioning?
Chances are if you live in Western Washington you’ve asked yourself that question. While our part of the world is known for mild temperatures and lots of rain, summer temperatures can reach the 90’s or higher. Recent years have seen warmer trends that are expected to continue, as well as smoke drifting in from forest fires throughout the Cascadia region that can cause discomfort even indoors, especially for those with breathing issues.
Air conditioners can improve not only the temperature in your home but also the air quality. Installing a new air conditioning system may be the best practical choice to help you maintain good health and security all summer long.
There are many reasons why air conditioning may be a necessity or practical choice rather than a luxury in your home. Beyond keeping your home comfortable, air conditioning can provide many benefits to meet your family’s needs. Here are a few reasons why air conditioning is particularly vital.
1. Air Conditioning Keeps the Heat Down
This is the obvious one, but it is getting more and more important. In 2018, Seattle temperature highs reached 85 degrees or higher on more than 30 days. That’s a month’s worth of hot days in just one summer. At times, your home’s indoor temperature may be even higher than the outdoor temperature due to walls and the roof absorbing heat from the sun.
There are many reasons why you might need to keep the heat down with air conditioning in your home. Maybe you’ve tried leaving the windows open or using a smaller cooling system, and it just wasn’t effective enough during the hottest weeks. Perhaps you have trouble sleeping, are unproductive, or become irritable when it’s too warm. Or maybe someone in your family has medical reasons for needing a temperature-controlled environment.
For these reasons and more, an AC unit might be a necessity to get through the warmest days of the year.
2. AC helps those with Allergies or a Sensitive Immune System
Opening windows may help you cool down your home, but it also lets in pollen, dust, and other allergens. If you or someone in your family has allergies or respiratory considerations, opening the windows might have a noticeable impact on health.
Even in the absence of allergies, you may need to be concerned about wildfire smoke. In 2018, the Puget Sound area had days with extremely poor air quality, primarily because of wildfire smoke. Scientists predict there will be more smokey summers in future years.
Smoke isn’t good for anyone’s health, but it’s particularly harmful to young children, older adults, pregnant women, and people who have had strokes. An air conditioning unit may be vital to escape the negative health effects of clogged and unhealthy air.
3. Air Conditioning Keeps Your Home Safer
An AC unit can also help keep your home more secure. If you are concerned about the possibility of burglary, you may not want to keep your windows open even on hot days.
Open windows are a significant security risk. Choosing to use an AC instead may help you keep your home and possessions safe by cooling down your space without leaving openings ajar.
4. Air Conditioning Increases Your Home’s Value
If you’re thinking about selling your home someday, you’ll want it to be as appealing as possible to potential buyers.
With an AC unit, you’ll be able to raise your asking price and attract buyers who are willing to pay more. A central cooling system is especially attractive to buyers in the greater Seattle area as not all houses have them.
Other Benefits of Air Conditioning
With an AC unit, you can lower the temperature of your home when needed. You don’t have to use it, but it’s a huge relief to know the option is there the next time temperatures climb past 90 degrees.
There’s also the comfort factor. Even if you don’t feel air conditioning is essential to your personal health, it can still have a massive impact on your quality of life. You may feel significantly happier and be more productive when you’re in a comfortable environment.
If you use central air, you’ll have greater control over your entire home. Rather than crowding your whole family into a room with a window unit on hot days, you’ll be able to keep temperatures livable in every room, including bedrooms so the whole family sleeps better at night.
How to Choose an Air Conditioning System
Before choosing an AC system for your home, you’ll need to consider the type of home you have and your electrical resources.
If you live in a condo, you may need approval from the homeowners association to change your AC system. The building may have electric resistance heat, in which case ductless heat pumps may be the only approved option for temperature control.
Houses may also present challenges, especially if they date back to the 1930s or earlier. Older homes often lack the capacity to add new major electrical appliances such as a central air conditioner. Verify your electrical access and check with your AC installer to find out what is possible for your home.
If you live in a large home, you may want to purchase two small AC units rather than a single large one. Units in more than one location can make it easier to control the temperature in different parts of your home. Additionally, multiple units often lead to a lower utility bill since a single unit must work much harder to keep distant rooms cool.
Purchasing and Installing an Air Conditioner
An air conditioner is one of the best investments to improve your quality of life and reduce health risks on the hottest, smokiest summer days. But as with any investment, it is important to work with experienced professionals. At Paragon, we have a team of experts who can help you choose and install the best air conditioning unit for your home.