Air Conditioning Unit Buying Guide
Cut Through The Confusion Of Choosing A New Air Conditioner With These Helpful Tips
It’s something none of us ever want to face, but if you’re a homeowner, it’s almost inevitable - at some point, you’ll have to let your current air conditioner retire to the Elysian Fields of the junkyard. When that time comes, it’s absolutely vital to be well-informed and prepared when choosing your replacement. A new air conditioning system is a massive investment and you can’t risk making the wrong decision - it’s not something you can just take back to the store, after all.
Luckily, you have R.S. Andrews on your side. Before our professional technicians bring their impeccable craftsmanship to installing your new system, we can help you navigate the process of determining which system is right for you and your home. Below are some of the key factors you should consider when purchasing a new air conditioning system.
Size Does Matter
The square footage of your home the AC will need to keep cool and the size of the AC unit itself go hand-in-hand. The cooling capacity of an air conditioning unit is measured in British Thermal Units - BTUs. It takes approximately 12,000 BTUs to cool approximately 400 square feet of living space - the amount of capacity you’d get out of a 1 ton system. So as a good rule of thumb, divide the amount of space you’re looking to cool by 400, and you’ll get the size, in tons, of the AC unit you’ll need.
A unit that’s too small will constantly be working to try and keep everything cool, which will create heavier wear and tear on its components. A unit that’s too large will consume more energy due to its size, but a lot of that energy will end up wasted. In either case, having the wrong size unit will cost you more money on your utility bills in the long run. Plus, while we love seeing our clients, it will likely cut down on the amount of repair you’ll need as well.
Efficiency - Good For You, Good For The Environment
For an air conditioning unit, efficiency relates to how much cooling it can produce per watt of energy. To measure this, air conditioners are assigned a SEER rating, which stands for “seasonal energy-efficiency rating.” You should aim for a system that has at least a SEER score of 15, but the higher you go, the better.
More efficiency means your unit won’t have to burn through as much power to keep your home cool as a less efficient unit. This has a two-fold benefit. On the one hand, you’ll keep more money in your pocket on your power bill because your unit will make sure it’s using its energy wisely. On the other hand, less power demand provides for less impact on the environment as well. Help yourself, and help the world around you.
Can Your Home Handle The Ductwork?
Traditionally speaking, a central air conditioner cools the air and distributes it through the home via installed ductwork. However, if your home is older, or you’re building an addition, you may not have the ability to install the ductwork needed for the cool air to get where it’s going.
This is where ductless mini-split systems come in. These units do not require ductwork - just a small hole drilled in your wall. They are perfect for getting extra cooling to rooms that need it, taking care of new rooms, or cooling homes that can’t have normal ductwork installed. If you find yourself in one of these circumstances, talk to one of our technicians to see if a mini-split would work for you.
Don’t Forget About Air Quality
As more time goes on, we learn more and more about the impact our indoor air quality can have on our overall health. Your air conditioner can have a big influence on what sort of pollutants might be floating around your home.
Air conditioning systems with air purifiers, UV lights and built in humidifiers - or dehumidifiers - can do a lot of the heavy lifting keeping your indoor air clean and your family healthy. Definitely consider these options when shopping for a new system.
If You Aren’t Sure, Trust An Expert
We get it, there’s a lot of information out there and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But don’t give up! If you aren’t sure what you need, or even where to start to find that out, give us a call. At R.S. Andrews our commitment to your comfort requires us to provide honest, expert advice to ensure you get the right AC system for your home. Send your questions online or call us at 843-706-5090 today!