7 Shopping Guidelines for a New Air Conditioner

Your old air conditioner has gone on the fritz, and of course it’s the hottest day of the year. Your house is warm and getting warmer by the hour. You need to pick out and install a replacement AC as soon as possible, but this is a big decision. You’ll need to consider your home, resources, and budget. Read on to see a few tips that will make the process a bit easier.

1. Different Types

You might think you should just replace the same type of air conditioning unit you had before, but that’s not always true. There are three different types to consider: window units, ductless air conditioners, and central air conditioners.

2. Window Air Conditioners

Window air conditioning units are affordable and extremely energy efficient. They fit right inside your window, and are available in a range of BTUs, which will accommodate different sizes of rooms or space you need to cool. The first major advantage is that they are inexpensive to buy and to run over the summer months. Units start around $100 and the average cost is around $300.

The size of air conditioner you buy will depend on the square footage of the room you want to cool, and the BTUs you will need to cool the space. The larger the room or area, the more BTUs you will require to most efficiently do the job. The more BTU capacity offered, the more expensive the AC will cost.

3. Ductless Air Conditioners

These units are a great alternative for those upgrading from a window unit, or for those who don’t want the hassle and expense of installing ductwork. A ductless AC unit cools a room or zone using an interior unit installed on the wall and an outdoor unit. One outdoor unit is sometimes able to control multiple indoor units.

4. Central Air Conditioners

Central AC units are the most common type of air conditioners. And all information following this section will focus on central air conditioning units.

The central AC unit is made up of a an outdoor condenser unit, and indoor air handler with evaporator coils and a blower, and ductwork that runs through the home. The indoor air handler might be installed in the basement, garage, or attic. If you choose to upgrade to a central AC unit and you either don’t have ductwork or it was improperly installed, you will also have the additional cost of installing or fixing the ductwork.

5. What to Look For

Any AC you buy to replace an old system will be more energy efficient. When you have a central unit, make sure both the air handler and the condenser are replaced, since these two parts were made to work together. If you change one and not the other, you might end up with an inefficient system.

6. Size

When it comes to air conditioners, bigger isn’t always better. A too-large system will switch on and off more often, will cost you more in energy bills, and won’t run long enough to reduce the humidity level in your home.

The size of your new unit should be based on the square footage of your home and the cooling load of your home. This is based on the type and amount of insulation, the size of your windows, and the overall size of your home.

7. Cost

If your budget is flexible, you can consider how efficient the system will be in your house and how much you’ll save on energy bills every year. How much value will a great AC system add to your home if you sell?

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