If you live in a hotter climate, you’ll know how draining the summer months can be and how hard it can be to get moving with daily life when the air inside your home is unbearably hot.
Perhaps it’s time to replace your existing air conditioning before summer starts? Or if you are building a new home then ask your builder to help you select the right unit for you. An effective air conditioning (A/C) system can ensure that you can relax in comfort and think clearly while your neighbors may be sweating it out.
The following four steps will ensure that, when you go shopping for a home A/C unit, you are knowledgeable, well informed and know what you’re looking for:
1. Measure Carefully
You need to measure the space in your home to ensure that you buy an air conditioning unit that expels enough air to reach every space efficiently and effectively. If you simply make an estimate, your home could end up feeling like an arctic zone or your A/C could pump away and have little effect on important areas. Write down measurements of the rooms in your home on a site map before you go shopping and ensure you purchase a unit that will effectively cool all areas. Your measurements will give you an initial indication of what you are looking for so that your contractor can make an accurate assessment of your cooling needs based on a standardized system like British thermal units per hour (BTU/hr). One ton of cooling capacity equals 12,000 BTU/hr and the larger the space you need to cool, the larger the cooling capacity you need.
2. Buy A System to Suit Your Home and Your Budget
There are two basic types when it comes to A/C systems and the type you choose will depend on your home and your budget. The first is a central air duct system: it is the most effective and the most likely to reach every area of your home. If your home already has ducts for central heating, this is the most popular and longest-lasting choice. If not, it can be very expensive to install a duct system but it will still offer the most effective cooling.
The second system type is the split-ductless system which consists of an outdoor condenser unit and up to four indoor units which blow cool air into your home. These systems tend to be more expensive than central air conditioning but do have a number of benefits including the fact that each indoor unit can be operated separately and has its own remote and the fact that you do not have to have your walls torn up to install one.
3. The Right Thermostat Matters
One thing you should definitely look out for when purchasing a home air conditioning system is a programmable thermostat. This allows you to set the interior temperature to a level that is comfortable for you and can help you make significant energy savings of up to 20%. If you want to keep your electric bills at a minimum, you should also check the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) of any unit you consider. The minimum required SEER on new A/C systems is 13 and the greater the rating, the more you’ll save in energy costs.
4. Talk to the Professionals
Obviously. installing an air conditioning unit is not a “do it yourself task”. So there should be professional advice and service available, as well as professional installation. When you’re shopping for your air conditioning unit, talk to the professionals about the package each unit comes with – it shouldn’t stop with the installation. Ask the professionals you speak to whether they offer:
– Home Inspection:
A contractor who recommends an A/C system without first inspecting your home’s cooling needs is not likely to have your best interests at heart. After all, there is no perfect “one size fits all” air conditioning system for any home. No contractor should make a purchase recommendation before they’ve seen the space you intend to have the unit installed in. They can then reference the BTU/ph needed and check the appropriate duct sizing for your home in the ACCA manuals. In some homes, it is not possible to install new duct systems and they can give you advice on a split-ductless system.
– Duct Insulation:
If you have air conditioning or central heating ducts in your home or are thinking of having a duct system installed, ensure that the professional will check existing and install new duct insulation throughout the whole house to make sure your new A/C system works as effectively as it should. If the duct work in your system is not insulated, you can loose between 30 and 40% of your cooling efficiency.
– A Maintenance Program:
Quality A/C manufacturers and installers should offer an ongoing maintenance plan which includes regular inspections of the system, parts warranties and discounts on system services. Service plans can affect the overall price of air conditioning systems but it is much better to receive services from the same professional who fitted your system.
Make sure you know what you’re looking for and cool down your home effectively and efficiently:
Purchasing the right air conditioning system for your home is no small decision. It involves a major expense and the installation can also cause major disruption to your daily life. Before you choose a system, ensure that you’re in the know about the size, efficiency and type you need for your home and make sure that the professional you choose to install your system offers a full and comprehensive service. A well chosen, well installed and well maintained A/C system can make a huge difference to your comfort and productivity at home but poor choices and poor professional advice can amount to a huge waste of money and little change. Make sure you make informed decisions.