April 21st, 2017
During the hot, humid days of a long summer, a central air conditioner can be your best friend. They’re the best way to cool down the whole house and make it much more comfortable, especially at night. When your family is trying to sleep soundly, heat and humidity can make it very unpleasant.
It’s now very common for new homes to come standard with air conditioning, but sometimes it can be one of those upgrades you plan on installing later. Perhaps you’ve purchased an older home and it’s time to replace your aging AC unit. Either way, there are several things it’s important to keep in mind when shopping for a new central air conditioner.
Size of Home & Size of Air Conditioner
Just like heaters and furnaces indicate their heat capacity in BTUs, so do air conditioners measure their cooling capacity. You’ll want to ensure that the air conditioner you choose has a suitable BTU rating to cool the square footage of your home. You can use this Air Conditioner size calculator on the Energy Star website to get a better idea of what size you may need.
Type of AC Unit
There are three main types of air conditioners:
- Central Air Conditioning – The most common type, these units consist of an indoor cooling coil and a condenser outside the home, and distribute cool and dehumidified air through the existing air ducts of your home.
- Heat Pump Air Conditioners – Generally found in areas with less drastic temperature ranges, heat pump air conditioners move the warm air from inside your home to the outside in order to cool down the home.
- Split Ductless Systems – These use an exterior condenser and multiple indoor blower units mounted on the walls of your home. The refrigerant is carried through tubes to each unit from the condenser, along with electrical power and drain lines. Because these units do not rely on ductwork to move cool air, they can be ideal for older homes without the need for extensive modifications, but can also be more expensive than other AC units.
Air Conditioner Efficiency
The efficiency of an air conditioner is measured by how much cooling power is created per watt of electricity. This is shown as a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER). The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the air conditioner will be. The industry standard minimum SEER rating is 13, so to minimize your energy costs, you’ll want to look for units with ratings at or greater than 13.
If your home doesn’t already have a programmable thermostat, installing a new air conditioner is a great time to invest in one. Programmable thermostats can reduce energy consumption significantly all year round, and make it simple to ensure a comfortable temperature inside your home at all times.
Buying a new and more efficient air conditioner has a lot of benefits, including making your home more comfortable, increasing it’s value, and reducing your energy costs. Make sure you do your research on what options make the most sense for your home and your location, and don’t hesitate to contact trusted professionals to answer any questions you may have.