Tips For Buying A Central Air Conditioner

best_air_conditionerCosting around $3,000 to $6,000 (including installation), central air conditioners are not something you’d just pull off the store shelf and take home with you. Before actually going out to shop for a central air conditioner you must first equip yourself with the right information that will enable you to pick a system that will suit your needs and keep the costs down as low as possible. Just so that you know, central air conditioner prices are largely dictated by the size and cooling capacity of the unit.

Now, before you decide on what system to buy, here are some of the things that you would want to consider.

Hiring A Professional

First of all, buying and installing a central air conditioning system is not a do-it-yourself project. Like I mentioned earlier, it is not something that you can just pull of the store shelf and bring home with you. This is something best left in the hands of professionals. There is no better person than a qualified HVAC technician who can evaluate your home’s air conditioning needs and structural challenges.

In case you don’t know yet, there are many factors that need to be considered just for determining what sized unit you should have installed in your home. Among those factors are:

•the size (square footage) and layout of your home

•the amount of insulation in your home

•the number, size, and type of windows your home has, and the type of window shading you use

•the height of the ceilings

•the presence of heat-emitting appliances inside your home (including lighting fixtures)

•Geographic location of your home and the local climate •The things that surround your home such as trees, other buildings, etc.

All that and other things that can influence the temperature inside your house. Then there’s also the thing about whether or not your home is ready to be installed with a central air system… does it already have ductworks in place? If not, does it have a forced-air heating system that the air conditioner can piggyback on? Does your home have other provisions for a central air system?

Unless you are also trained to do all those, you’d be better off to let a qualified HVAC technician to work it all out for you. If there is anything you can do, that is to make sure that the person you are talking to or dealing with is really qualified to do the job.

So, how do you choose a technician? Well, for one thing, you can inquire first about how long he has been in the business. Naturally, the longer he’s been in the business, the more reliable and dependable he is. A rule of thumb here is to always opt for an HVAC technician who has been in business for more than a year. But you should not stop there. You can also ask recommendations from friends and/or relatives who has had a central air conditioning system installed.

Also, whenever you talk to a technician, make it a point to first ask him about the certifications that he has received, his previous work experiences, and his educational background.

Lastly, try to get estimates or price quotes from at least three technicians. This should allow you to get the best value for your money.


Getting the Perfect System for Your Home

Okay, we have mentioned a little about this earlier. Choosing and buying a proper-sized air conditioner for you home is very crucial. Yes, you may save some money buying a smaller system, but it may not be able to sufficiently cool your home. Also, since the unit will be running at full power most of the time, your electricity bill could shoot through the roof.

If you buy a unit that’s to large for your needs, your air conditioner will be cycling (turning on and off) very quickly. Just so that you know, frequent cycling wastes energy and wears out the equipment. So, not only will you be wasting your money on unneeded power, but you could also end up spending extra on repairs and maintenance that you otherwise would not have to if you bought the right system.

And, again, there’s no better person to determine the right-sized unit/system for your home other than a duly qualified HVAC technician.


Efficiency Makes for a Tremendous Amount of Savings

According to the EPA and U.S. Department of Energy, about one-seventh of all the electricity generated in the United States is used to air condition buildings, and by the time you scale that percentage to home usage, any means of energy savings is a major plus. And your air contractor knows this, too. A qualified air conditioner contractor/technician can help you choose a unit/system that will allow you to have the most savings in the long run. But just so that you know, the efficiency of a system comes down to the system’s seasonal energy efficiency rating (SEER). The SEER tells you how many BTUs (British Thermal Unit) an air conditioner removes for every watt of electricity it uses. The higher the SEER is the cheaper the air conditioning unit is to operate. Additionally, a zoned control system can provide for more savings. A zoned control system lets you cool only the places or areas of your home that are actually in use.


Quoting from the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA): “A Quality Installation Begins With A Professional HVAC Design.”

As mentioned earlier, purchasing and installing a central air conditioning system is best left in the hands of professionals. That is for the simple that there are so many things to consider in installing one. Not only that, it involves a lot of actual work, too.

Can your house readily accept a central air conditioning system? Does it have a usable ductwork in place? If not, does it have a forced-air heating system that the air conditioner can piggyback on? If you answered no to all of these, then you have to have retrofitting done. And retrofitting is not at all cheap. On top of the standard cost of installation, you also need to pay for extra working hours and extra materials for tearing down your walls, ceilings, and floors and putting your house back together.

In addition to that, the various components of the system must be installed in the right places. And that involves a lot of planning.

As you can see, buying an air conditioning system is not a walk in the park. It really pays a lot to be very stringent. Not only should you choose based on the best central air conditioner prices, you should also choose based on your actual needs/situation.

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