Your home’s HVAC system is one of the most important appliances for home comfort. It makes sense to choose the best possible system you can find. Here are things to consider when choosing a new air conditioner.
Air conditioners manufactured today are more energy efficient than those of the past. This translates to less environmental impact and lower utility bills. However, not all air conditioners are created equal, and there are specific things you should look for to get the most out of your investment.
When you shop for central air conditioning, be sure to look at the SEER rating. This stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio and it makes a big difference. Look for ratings numbered 13 or higher. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the air conditioner is.
If you purchase an A/C with an ENERGY STAR label, you can be assured the SEER is at least 13. ENERGY STAR labels are only given to appliances that meet strict guidelines set by the EPA. They go through a battery of tests to achieve this designation.
Type Of Air Conditioner
There are several types of air conditioners, including ducted central air, ductless central air, and window units. If you are upgrading from a ducted central air unit, you will probably want to remain with that type of system. If your home is new or you have no existing ductwork, then a ductless system may be best. These are also called ductless mini splits, and some are equipped to cool in summer and heat the home in winter. The indoor and outdoor units are connected via a thin tube, and these ductless systems are energy efficient and quiet.
Window units or portable air conditioners are sometimes suitable if you only have a small space, such as a garage, to cool.
Look for comfort aspects aside from cooling, such as how well the unit dehumidifies and how quiet it operates.
Size is very important, but this does not mean you should buy the biggest unit you can find. No matter what kind of air conditioner you buy, if you choose one that is too small, you won’t get adequate cooling and the unit will have to work very hard. This usually equates to extra noise, inefficiency and a reduced lifespan of the unit. However, if you purchase a unit that is too big, it will cycle on and off too much. Your home may be cool, but it will also be damp and you will be using more energy than needed.
Here is why choosing an oversized air conditioner can be a problem. Aside from cooling, air conditioners remove some moisture from the air, which keeps humidity levels lower and makes your home feel cooler and generally more comfortable. Since air is moved through a filter, it also helps with indoor air quality, provided the filter is changed regularly. An oversized air conditioner doesn’t need to stay on very long at a time to bring temperatures down in the home. This makes it shut off too quickly to dehumidify the air and affects air quality.
The best way to determine what size is right for your home is to have an HVAC technician come out to do a cooling load calculation on your home. Using industry-approved calculations, the technician can determine the size of system you need plus give you tips about home improvements you could make to improve energy efficiency once the unit is installed.
Other features to look for include a fan-only switch and a variable speed air handler. A fan-only switch allows you to use only the fan when temperatures are so cool outside that you don’t need the cooling component. This saves energy while keeping air flowing through your home.
A variable speed air handler is a common feature now. Instead of pushing cool air into the home in a sudden rush before eventually shutting off again, what this does is simply change the fan speed so there is a continual flow. These air handlers keep things quieter and makes the home more comfortably, evenly cool.
Choosing a new air conditioner shouldn’t be a rushed affair. When you pick the right system, it should last for many years and save you money through energy savings. Remember to ask your HVAC professionals anytime you have any questions about which A/C is right for your home.