What Should I Look for When Buying an AC?
TechXpert verified by Ken Kontra
You should look for AC units that best match your budget, house square footage, and that satisfy sustainable SEER ratings, warranties, and features. When buying a new AC, you’ll learn that one type does not fit all, so you’ll need to consider all the factors that go into finding the best AC for your home.
Factors to Consider
While selecting a new AC can feel a bit overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. Here are some factors, features, and tips to help you make a smart choice.
Bang for Your Buck
Buying a new AC is expensive enough, so you’ll want to pick the right one from the start and avoid any expensive mistakes. The type of AC unit you choose will depend on your personal priorities, whether that’s staying within a strict budget, saving energy and money in the long run, or cooling your space as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The more expensive options are the central or geothermal units, while the less expensive options are the ductless, window, or portable AC units. A more expensive style will likely last longer, but it may not be necessary for where or how you live. For example, if you live in a studio apartment, a window or portable AC may be the best fit and will cost you less.
Home Square Footage
The size of your home will definitely determine what AC to buy. You’ll want an air conditioner that thas the output capacity to cool your entire home, taking into consideration how many rooms you plan to keep cool. If you’re unsure what size AC you’ll need for the size of your home, contact an HVAC technician to get their expert opinion.
Most HVAC systems are designed to last you a very long time. When you’re purchasing a new AC system, it’s important to consider both the lifetime warranty and what your warranty will ultimately cover. Some warranties may not cover labor costs or can have different timeframes for certain components, so be sure to look into your AC warranty now to avoid unwarranted problems in the future.
All equipment manufacturers require annual maintenance records from a certified dealer in order to process warranty claims. Without proof of maintenance, warranty claims may be declined or voided.
When you’re buying a new AC, energy efficiency should be top of mind. While you’re comparing systems, it’s important to look for energy-saving features like:
Variable speed motors: These help maximize airflow efficiency by their ability to operate at multiple speeds based on what your system needs.
An automatic fan delay switch: This feature will make use of all the remaining cool air in your system by allowing the air handler to run for a brief period of time after each cooling cycle.
Thermal expansion valves: These valves minimize energy consumption by monitoring the amount of refrigerant that flows through your system at any given point in the cooling cycle.
Two-stage cooling: This feature has two cooling outlets (high and low) that save energy by adapting to mild and hot temperatures, giving you more control over your home’s settings and monthly costs.
Speed-dating Your AC Options
When selecting a new AC, you may be looking at a variety of options. If summer is near, buying a new AC should be your top priority, and one that is handled quickly to ensure you’re cool all season long. Knowing exactly what you want can readily speed up the process of finding your perfect AC match.
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