10 Frequently Asked Questions About Refrigerated Air


Summertime in New Mexico brings bright sunshine, toasty temperatures, and wonderings about refrigerated air and how to stay cool. You don’t have to wonder anymore! Here are answers to 10 frequently asked questions about refrigerated air:

1. Should I convert to refrigerated air from my swamp cooler?

We can’t tell you what you should do because the answer is different for everyone. What we can do is walk with you while you make your decision. We asked one of our top HVAC techs for his thoughts on the pros and cons of each.

To summarize, swamp coolers work well under 35% humidity and are less expensive to install and run. They don’t work as well when it’s humid, and you must open windows and doors.

Refrigerated air is consistently comfortable and lets you set the temperature exactly where you want it. It’s also easier on allergies than swamp coolers. They are more expensive to install and run than a swamp cooler.

Whether you convert or stick with a swamp cooler boils down to your comfort preferences, your budget, and your house. We suggest scheduling a free estimate (no commitment required) to find out if converting to refrigerated air makes sense for you.

2. When should I replace my air conditioner?

If you already have refrigerated air, when should you replace it? The average refrigerated air conditioner lasts about 15 – 20 years. The life span of your air conditioner is directly affected by maintenance (or lack of it). A great way to tell if it’s time to replace your AC is if the repairs are going to cost at least a third of the cost of a new air conditioner. Constant repairs are another sign you need a new one. You can always count on TLC’s HVAC technicians to give you an honest, accurate assessment of your air conditioner’s condition.

3. How long does it take to replace an air conditioner?

When it comes to your home, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Every house is different, which means the installation time for converting or upgrading your air conditioner is also different. On average, a simple, straightforward installation takes one full day.

That might be an optimistic estimate for some houses. In a more complex situation, it could take a day and half to five days. You will need to allow more time if ductwork needs to be added or enlarged, you are converting from a swamp cooler, or you’re installing a ductless mini-split system. There’s also a good chance you might need an electrical panel upgrade to accommodate your new system, and that adds additional time. Your HVAC professionals will walk you through how much time they’ll need for your specific system.

4. What is the installation process for an air conditioner?

Getting a new AC shouldn’t be intimidating, it should be exciting! We’ve broken the process down into easy-to-follow steps that we will take you through. We will:

  1. Provide a free estimate after inspecting your current system and learning about your budget, needs, and preferences
  2. Do a walk-through prior to starting work to make sure we didn’t miss anything
  3. Order your new air conditioning equipment
  4. Demo and remove your old air conditioner to get ready for the new one
  5. Install your new air conditioning system (1 – 5 days based on complexity)
  6. Do another walk-through after the job to ensure quality
  7. The City will inspect the air conditioner to verify that the work is up to safety and quality standards (don’t worry, we’ll pull the permits and help you get the inspection scheduled)

It’s our goal to make installing a new AC as easy on you as possible. We work closely with you to make sure we cater to your schedule and needs. We also offer a 100% Make It Right Guarantee so that you can be confident in your new system.

5. How much does a new air conditioner cost?

This is probably the most frequently asked question about air conditioners. It’s also the hardest to answer accurately without seeing your current system and knowing exactly what your needs are. A broad range is $6,500 all the way up to $30,000.

Here are a few factors that will determine where you fall in this price range:

  • The size of your house
  • The number of units you will need
  • The efficiency of the unit(s) that you choose
  • The ductwork in your home
  • Your comfort preferences

Always make sure to get your estimate from an HVAC professional who has personally seen your home, your old system, and understands your needs. Be cautious of anyone who tries to quote you a price over the phone. It’s almost impossible to give an accurate estimate without inspecting the system first.

Get your free estimate from TLC today!

6. What brands of air conditioners does TLC install?

No matter what brand you prefer, we can install it! TLC is an authorized dealer and buyer for all the major air conditioning brands on the market today, including Heil, Bryant, Carrier, Trane, and more. We also provide our own line of trusty TLC Branded heating and cooling systems for you to choose from. Whatever it is you need, we are committed to helping you get it.

7. What size of air conditioner do I need?

Again, this isn’t something that can be answered with 100% accuracy without seeing your system and home. There are many factors that affect the size of AC you need:

  • The square footage of the home
  • Age of the home
  • Sun exposure
  • Insulation
  • The tightness of the home (Well-Sealed? Drafty? Energy Star?)

8. Do you offer financing for new air conditioners?

Yes, TLC makes it easy for you to finance your new air conditioner. We partner with Nusenda Credit Union and Greensky Financing Company to provide easy financing options for your family. Learn more about TLC’s financing options.

9. Does my new air conditioner need to be inspected by the City?

Yes, your new air conditioner needs to be inspected by the City. TLC pulls a permit with the City for every air conditioner we install. After we finish the work, an appointment needs to be made with the City to inspect the work. Our team can help you work with the city inspectors to get this done.

You need to get your new AC inspected because:

  • An inspection assures the quality of work
  • An inspection offers you peace of mind about safety concerns
  • An inspection verifies that the air conditioning system is up to code
  • An inspection makes resale of the home easier

10. Do I need an electrical panel upgrade to install a new air conditioner?

If your electrical panel is less than 100-amp, then the answer is most likely to be “yes.” If you are converting from a swamp cooler to refrigerated air, it’s also probably a “yes.” New refrigerated air units almost all require a 200-amp electrical panel to run safely and effectively. This will be accounted for in your free estimate, and TLC’s HVAC professionals will work closely with our expert electricians to make this upgrade as easy on you as possible.

These are some of the top questions we get about refrigerated air, but we know that you might have more. If you have a question that we didn’t answer in this blog, ask a TLC pro today and get your questions answered! If you would like to schedule service or a free estimate, we would be happy to serve you! You can also reach our Albuquerque office at (505) 761-9644, or our Santa Fe office at (505) 471-0119.