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What to Look For When Buying a New AC Unit

What to Look For When Buying a New AC Unit

You toss and turn in your bed at night as the room begins to heat up. You’ve noticed that your AC unit hasn’t been cooling all the rooms in your home the same way that it used to.

It’s also been letting out loud noises lately, and you have to get repairs done a few times a month or more. It’s getting to be a bit much, to say the least.

You need a new AC unit, but you don’t know where to begin when it comes to picking one out. What features should you be looking out for, and what kind of air conditioners do you have to choose from?

We have all the answers right here!

Types of Air Conditioners 

Before we discuss what you should be looking for in a new AC system, let’s talk about what kinds of options you have. The main ones on the market are central air, ductless, window, portable, and geothermal.

Central Air 

Central air units are a large structure that contains a condenser, compressor, and evaporator. Some homeowners elect to install one on their roof, but you can place them outside your home as well.

Since they’re so big, FurnacePrices.ca’s recommended air conditioners are great for sending cool air throughout a large home. If you live in a tiny space, the cost to install this massive structure might not be worth it, though.

Ductless Split Unit

Ductless split units work a little like central air. They sit outside and blow cool air into the home. The difference is that they’re connected to wall mounts via tubes and blowers.

Refrigerant cycles through the tubes while the blowers circulate the air inside the house.  If you want to cool a bunch of your rooms, but your current ductwork can’t accommodate a central air unit, this will be your best option.

Window Unit

Window units are small boxes that sit in a window inside the home and cool a single room. Most of the time, homeowners install these units during the summer and take them down when the weather cools off.

If your cooling needs aren’t that extensive, you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint, and you want to lower your power bill, a window unit will be all you need.

Portable Unit 

Portable units are movable window units, essentially. They sit on the floor and usually have wheels that allow you to move them from room to room.

They’re great for cooling your living room by day and keeping you comfortable by night. They’re affordable and they won’t drive up your energy costs.

Geothermal Units

If you have a lot of money in your budget, consider going with a geothermal unit. They’re pricy, but they’re the most energy-efficient model on the market. What you pay in installation costs, you’ll make back in cheaper utility bills.

The way they work is a metal coil is installed that runs from your home deep underground. During the winter, it pulls heat out of the earth and pumps it into your home. In the summer, it sends the heat that’s in your home back into the ground.

SEER Ratings 

When buying an AC unit, one of the main things to pay attention to is the SEER ratings. SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency rating. It measures how efficiently a unit runs in correlation to seasonal weather fluctuations.

According to federal regulations, every HVAC system should have a rating of at least 13. That doesn’t mean that you can’t shoot over that, however. The higher the SEER rating, the more affordable your operation bills will be.

Note that to shoot for a high SEER rating will put quite the dent in your wallet. We recommend that you stay around the 14-15 range. This way, it will be better than the minimum without breaking the bank.

Costs 

Speaking of costs, your budget is obviously something that you have to keep in mind. You won’t be able to buy the best AC unit on the market at the moment if you don’t have the finances to install it.

That doesn’t mean that you should buy the cheapest unit that you can. If you can afford a geothermal system, go for it. Again, you’ll make back the cost of the unit with the money that you’ll be saving on your energy bill each month.

The best way to get a fair price is to get a couple of quotes from different HVAC companies. Remember, getting a quote doesn’t obligate you to go with a particular business.

House Size 

If you’re trying to cool a huge 4-bedroom house, having a bunch of portable units or a window unit isn’t going to cut it. This being said, a huge central air unit might be a little overkill if you live in a two-bedroom place.

If you get the wrong size unit, it will cycle more often than it should, which will reduce its lifespan. You won’t get any cooling benefits from these extra cycles either.

Extra Maintenance 

Every HVAC system comes with its own set of maintenance needs. If you get central air, ductless, or geothermal unit, you’ll need to have a contractor come out regularly to check things over. Most companies will set something up with you when they install the unit.

If you have a portable or window unit, you’ll have to take care of maintenance on your own. Some portable units vent water into a tray that you’ll have to empty every so often, and window units have to be replaced every year or so. Give or take.

Cool Off With a New AC Unit 

The last thing you want is for your air to stop working during the summer. If your system is no longer cooling as it should, it might be time for you to pick up a new AC unit. Keep the things that you’ve read here in mind when you go shopping to pick out the right one for you.

Installing a new air conditioner could be the perfect way to make your house more energy-efficient, but it’s not the only way. Check out our blog for more tips on optimizing your home.

Written by Shilpa

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