A typical air conditioner may provide your home with a couple of decades of use, but even the best air conditioning unit will need to be replaced at some point. Some homeowners will operate their AC unit until it simply has no more life left in it. Others may make the decision to replace an older unit for energy efficiency or to enjoy other benefits.
When the time comes to replace your AC unit, you understandably want to take every step possible to purchase the best air conditioning type and brand for your home and for your budget. If you are thinking about proceeding with a new air conditioning installation project, focus on these points to find the right unit for your home.
The Right Size of Unit For Your Home
Understanding how to choose air conditioner size is critical when you are investing in a new system for your home. Air conditioner size describes the BTUs or tons of the unit. Generally, you will need a larger unit size for a larger home. There are online charts that can help you to determine the ideal BTU rating or tonnage for your home. However, keep in mind that some homes have two, three or more units installed. Focus on the square footage of the area of the home that the system will be responsible for cooling. In addition, if your home is new and very well insulated, you may be able to go down a single size. On the other hand, if it is not well-insulated or properly sealed, you may need to go up a size. Buying an air conditioner that is too small for your home means that the AC unit will not to operate for longer periods of time and turn on more frequently than it otherwise would need to it. While you may save money by purchasing a smaller unit, you will pay for it through higher energy bills. On the other hand, if you purchase a unit that is too large for your home, you will pay more up-front than is necessary. In addition, the unit may not turn on as frequently or run as long, but it will use more energy than necessary to cool the home.
The Energy Efficiency of the Air Conditioner
In addition to size, the cost of air conditioning systems is directly linked to the energy efficiency of the unit. Each air conditioner is assigned a SEER rating, and this is an acronym that means seasonal energy efficiency ratio. A unit with a higher SEER rating generally has a higher purchase price, but it also is more energy efficient. A lower SEER rating is more affordable to purchase, but it is less energy efficient. Keep in mind that the minimum SEER rating currently required for new air conditioning installation in homes is 14, but many units have a rating of 17, 20 or higher. When you are determining what SEER rating to purchase for your home, consider how often you will use your system throughout the year. You may find that investing in a more energy efficient unit up-front is a more cost-effective solution overall.
The Maintenance Requirements
Air conditioning servicing is a requirement, and homeowners simply cannot get around this fact. Air conditioning maintenance and repair needs simply must be addressed if you want your system to continue to operate well over the years. Most systems are designed to require annual preventative maintenance. Some are sold with extensive warranties so that repair costs can be kept to a minimum during the first few years of ownership. It is wise to research maintenance and repair needs for different systems before you make a final buying decision.
Your Purchasing Budget
Another critical aspect associated with new air conditioning installation relates to your buying budget. All homeowners have a limited amount of funds to work with when investing in a new air conditioner, and you understandably must find the right unit for your needs and your budget. Consider, however, that some units may qualify for tax credits or special rebates. In addition, if you buy a unit during the off-season, you may be able to get a better deal so that you can afford a more energy efficient unit. Some HVAC service providers also offer financing or a monthly payment plan. This can help you to more easily afford to buy the unit that offers the most benefits to your home.
When you are preparing to buy a new air conditioning unit, it is important to consider how long you plan to be in the home, how critical the AC unit is for your ability to resell the home for top dollar, how much you intend to use the unit while in the home, the weather conditions in your area year-round and more. In many areas, a functional and energy efficient AC unit is a necessity for comfort and convenience and even for survival in some cases with extreme heat. If you are preparing to purchase a new AC unit, keep your attention focused on each of these points. Take time to thoroughly compare the options, and seek recommendations from a trusted HVAC technician. By taking these steps, you can make an informed HVAC buying decision.