Your air conditioner is arguably the most important appliance in your home,
as you rely on it to keep you cool, comfortable, and even healthy when
the outdoor temperatures and humidity rise. Therefore, when your system
breaks down or needs to be replaced, choosing the right model to replace
it is a huge decision. So where do you begin? How do you know which unit
is right for your home and your needs? Many homeowners know very little
about air conditioning technology, and we understand that. So to help,
here are four tips for purchasing a new air conditioning unit.
Know the SEER Value
One of the most important numbers pertaining to air conditioners is the
SEER value, or the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, which is a rating
given to indicate a particularly air conditioning unit’s efficiency.
Naturally, you’d think the higher a SEER rating, the better, if
it pertains to efficiency, right? Not even close. For starters, you have
to understand how SEER ratings are given. An air conditioning unit is
put through a laboratory test when it is brand new in order to obtain
a SEER value. Think of it like an MPG rating on a car—are you really
going to get the full highway efficiency rating all of the time? No, probably not.
And this is huge for homeowners, because units with a high SEER value are
usually two things: expensive and unreliable. An extremely efficient system
may cut down your electric bill, but you’ll be doing a
lot of additional maintenance on them. That will add a lot to the cost of ownership
for one of these units, which is already going to cost you a lot more
out of pocket.
For this reason, we usually recommend no more than a 14 to 16 SEER rating
for those who want a good blend of durability and efficiency at an affordable price.
Get the Right Size
A giant air conditioner will surely cool your home quickly, meaning your
system has to run less and will last longer while using less electricity,
right? Not exactly.
Much like SEER ratings, the size of your air conditioner needs to be a
good balance as well, and this will depend largely on what it is you want
your unit to do. Do you have a multi-zoned home, such as a house with
a different air conditioner for upstairs and downstairs? If so, you’ll
likely want to use a smaller unit than one large one, and you’ll
still maintain maximum comfort and efficiency.
Using too large of an air conditioner can have serious problems with your
home. An air conditioner that puts too much air into your vents can cause
pressure to build up in your ducts, causing damage, bursting, and a number
of other serious problems. A unit that’s too large may also turn
on and off frequently, which dramatically increases the amount of wear
and tear on a system, leading to that expensive investment needing to
be replaced again far sooner.
Find a Fair Price
When looking for a new air conditioner, you’ll probably see a wide
range of shapes and sizes as well as prices, depending on the model. However,
there’s a little secret you should probably know: many of the major
name brands are actually the same company, and the guts of your machine
might even be exactly the same from one brand to the next. In fact, even
today, Carrier, Heil, Day & Night, Payne, and Bryant are all made
by the same company: United Technologies. If you’re comparing two
similar units from these companies, it really doesn’t matter which
one you get—they’re probably identical. If the price between
two similar units is significantly different, look into what makes it
so, as there may be a feature missing or included that you are unaware of.
The price for a new air conditioner will also depend heavily on several
factors, including whether or not you also replace the furnace at the
same time, buy a new thermostat, and more, plus you’ll need to have
the system installed by a quality, experienced contractor as well as the
taxes on your purchase.
Use an Experienced Contractor
Speaking of contractors, it might surprise you to learn there are quite
a few scam artists and out there who would rather make a quick buck and
take off than try to earn a living as an honest business. These scammers
will often offer you a high-quality air conditioner and installation at
a really low price, in fact far below what you’ll receive in quotes
from other more reputable businesses. This price might seem too good to
be true, and it usually is: they provide you with a sub-par product, install
it poorly, and then vanish without a trace with your money, only to have
your system break down on you again, and you can’t find them at
all when you need a repair for their shoddy work.
Whenever you’re looking for a major work, such as an air conditioner
installation, be sure to get a written quote from several companies, and
always make sure to ask about any licenses or certifications, as well
as a physical business address for each contractor (many scammers will
simply work out of the back of a truck and not actually pay to have a
normal business location). Finally, the internet is your friend when it
comes to a company’s reputation. If a particular contractor has
few reviews, or lots of poor reviews, particularly recently, avoid them
at all costs.
If you’re looking for a high-quality, experienced air conditioning
contractor to help you with your home system, call the Palm Beach air
conditioning experts at
Phoenix Air Conditioning, LLC now at (888) 660-4337 to obtain a free quote or to schedule a replacement service!