Posted in: Helpful Information
A Central Air Conditioner Buyer’s GuideAre you wondering how to go about buying a new central air conditioning system? Well, wonder no more. This guide will walk you through what factors to consider when buying an efficient central air conditioner system for your home. In this article, we will anticipate costs, take a look at warranties, choose the right size and much more. You are probably thinking of installing a new central air conditioner to your home because, you believe it is one of the most important home improvement decisions you can make as far as comfort is concerned. Installing a central air conditioning unit is also one of the most expensive home improvement projects you can embark on, so you would be well advised to properly do your homework. Unlike other types of air conditioners, central air conditioners provide conditioned air to the whole house and not just specific parts of the house such as window air conditioners or portable air conditioners. A central air conditioning unit consists of an air-handling unit, a condenser unit that has a blower as well as an evaporator coil. In addition, a central air conditioning unit requires ductwork in order to exchange chilled air with room air. The central air conditioner condenser stays outside while the evaporator that is housed in the air handler is usually located in the basement, garage, or attic. The ductwork is usually routed from the room the evaporator is in and spreads in the walls throughout the entire house. The air conditioner works by using refrigeration technology to cool the air. A heat pump is basically a central air conditioner that can be reversed to heat the house in the winter instead of cooling it.
A/C Cost and SizingIf you decide to go with a central air conditioner instead of the other types of air conditioners, one of the important factors that you need to consider is the size of the central AC unit as well as its energy efficiency, warranty, features etc.
Energy EfficiencyDue to the high costs associated with energy, air conditioners can be expensive to run as they consume a big share of any home’s energy. For this reason, when you are out buying a central air conditioner you need to ensure that you are purchasing a unit that is highly effective, that is, it should be able to cool your home’s air in the most cost-effective way. When replacing an older model central air conditioner, ensure that you replace both the indoor evaporator as well as the outdoor condensing unit. If you simply replace one, you might lose out on potential savings you might have made.
SEER RatingIn order to reduce the amount of wasted energy, the Department of Energy has set standards that stipulate the least allowed efficiency ratings. This efficiency rating is called SEER and stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. Even though old air conditioner models can have a SEER rating that is as low as 6, regulations state that any model manufactured after January 2006 should have a minimum SEER rating of 13. For an AC unit to be considered highly efficient it should have a SEER rating of 15 to 17. The 1.5 TON 16 SEER Goodman Air Conditioner Variable Speed Split System is an example of a high efficiency unit. To put this into context, a unit with a SEER of 13 is more efficient than a unit with a SEER of 10 by 30%. You can find the SEER of any HVAC equipment indicated on the yellow Energy Guide that comes with every purchase. It is important that as a homeowner you pay keen attention to a unit’s SEER rating. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the AC unit is and the cheaper it will be to run in the long run.
Energy SavingsIn order for central air conditioner units to achieve high SEER ratings, they require certain features that help reduce energy use. They include:
- Large coils that facilitate more efficient heat transfer
- High temperature rating, that is, more than 11.6
- Variable-speed blower that reduces electricity consumption by customizing the use based on the need
- Thermal expansion valve
- Automatic delay fan switch, that is responsible for keeping the fan on so as to use the residual cool air even after the compressor has turned off
- A fan-only switch that allows you to switch off the cooling while allowing the fan to circulate air for more affordable yet natural cooling
- A filter indicator light that alerts you whenever the filter is due for a replacement.