Air Conditioner Learning Resources – Top 7 things to consider when choosing a new central AC
Top 7 things to consider when choosing a new central AC unit
How to get the right AC unit for your needs, without getting hot under the collarAir conditioning systems come in different sizes and styles, but none can deliver home comfort quite like a central air conditioner on those hot, humid summer days. A central AC unit circulates cool air, reduces humidity and even improves the overall air quality of your home. Here are 7 things to consider before buying a central air conditioner for your home:
1.Review the energy efficiency ratingWhen choosing a central AC unit, it’s important to look at the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). This is the measure of a cooling system’s efficiency over the course of a season of use. An ENERGY STAR® certified air conditioner will provide greater energy efficiency than base models, as it requires a minimum SEER of 14.5 or higher to qualify for certification. In contrast, base model can be as low as 13 SEER and older units can have SEER ratings well below that.
2. Installation is importantA reputable AC contractor is an important part of your investment. As with any major service, ask for referrals and get firm quotes from various AC contractors. Your AC contractor should be able to calculate the cooling load (see below for more on cooling loads) for your home, provide you with information on the AC unit and its SEER rating, answer any questions you have about the warranty, and offer a service contract on the new AC.
3. Pick the right sizeFor the best results, your AC contractor should do a cooling load calculation before recommending a specific size of AC system. The cooling load is the amount of cooling your system must provide to offer sufficient comfort. There are many factors that go into calculating the cooling load, including the size of your home, window square footage, insulation levels, orientation of your home (for instance, if it’s facing west), and several more factors. If you install an AC that is too large, it will cycle on and off frequently, substantially reducing the efficiency of your AC system. A system that is too large also loses the ability to dehumidify, which will make your home feel hotter and less comfortable. If the AC unit is too small, it may not be able to meet the demands of a hot, humid day.
4. Sound mattersComfort at home is something you should feel – not hear. Sound rating of air conditioners is expressed in bels. The lower the sound rating, the lower the sound emitted by the AC unit.
5. Consider the warrantyIn most cases, respected AC manufacturers offer 10-year warranties. Some models include a lifetime coverage on the compressor, an important and expensive component of a central air conditioning system.
6. Look for provincial rebatesSome provinces offer significant rebates to those upgrading to a more energy-efficient AC system. Our post on available rebates can help.
7. Save with promotionsRelianceTM offers regular promotions on heating and cooling equipment. Check your local Reliance homepage for our current offers. And on a final note…Don’t forget annual air conditioner maintenance! We’re jumping ahead here, but it’s important to consider regular maintenance, even with a new AC. Many AC manufacturers recommend annual maintenance because it can help avoid unexpected repair costs while making sure that your AC unit runs smoothly and efficiently year after year.
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