Your home’s air conditioning unit is the unsung hero of every summer. It’s the glue that holds your household together on those hot days, allowing everyone to sleep better and just simply walk around in a better mood.
So, if you need to buy a new AC unit for your home, you want to make the right decision. You don’t want to buy too little and struggle to cool your home, while you don’t want to pay for more than you need.
Today we will show you how to make sure you buy the proper AC model for your home and ensure you don’t overstretch your budget. Like any major purchase, knowing a little going into the process can save you a lot of money.
Chances are good that your home has/needs a split forced air system. This is the most popular type, with one part of the unit inside your home (the air handler) and the air-conditioner condenser outside.
These types of units usually have a lifespan of about 12 to 17 years, but there are a lot of factors that dictate how long your system is going to last. First and foremost, a unit in Arizona is probably not going to last as long as one in Canada. The two climates are going to put very different levels of demand on the air-conditioning.
Preventative maintenance also goes a long way to extend your unit’s life. Make it a priority to have your system inspected by a licensed professional at least once a year to make sure everything is running as smoothly as possible.
What is a SEER Rating?
You want a system with the highest possible Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating that you can afford.
The numbers will range from 13 to 23, and the higher your number the more efficient your system is. But, keep in mind that a higher rating also means a higher price tag. Typically speaking, a rating of 14 is great, but if you’re in an extremely hot climate you might want to go as high as 16.
Federal regulations now require a minimum value of 13 on a newly installed air-conditioner, except in California where you need a minimum of 14. A number of 13 or 14 is still more than likely six or seven points higher than an air conditioning system installed a decade ago.
What Size Do I Need For My Home?
This is a big question with no simple answer, even if you read estimates and ratios such as 1 ton of cooling power for every 600 ft.² of living space. That’s a nice and round number, but it won’t ultimately determine what you need.
A trained and certified HVAC technician will properly assess your living space and let you know how much you need, based on numerous factors like:
- Your area’s local climate
- The size of your home
- The layout of your ductwork
- The number of bedrooms you have, upstairs and downstairs
Of course, you’re probably worried about being sold something you don’t need. Do a bit of homework ahead of time and research the company you’re looking to buy from. You should look up how long they’ve been in business and take a deep dive into their online reviews.
If you choose the right company, you’ll get a brand new unit that cools your home better than ever before, while using less energy than ever before!