Warm is an understatement during Alberta summers, and you don’t want to rely on a single fan to keep you cool. Installing a central air conditioning unit can provide your home with cool comfort during the summer months, but what should you look for when buying an AC unit?
Whether you’re sick of repairing your old unit, or you’ve never had AC before, consider this your buyer’s guide to central air conditioning.
Determine the Type of Air Conditioning You Need
Looking for new air conditioning may seem overwhelming, and there are several things to consider before you buy. When you want a new unit, the first consideration is what type of central cooling system you need. There are two primary types: central air conditioning and ductless split air conditioning.
Central Air Conditioning
Central air conditioning systems include two units (one internal and one external). An outdoor compressor and condenser connect to an indoor unit attached to your furnace, pushing cool air out of the ducts in your home. Besides being a discrete cooling option for your home, central air conditioning has several benefits, including:
- Cleaner air due to built-in filters
- Cool air delivered through the entirety of your home
- Addable programmable thermostats to control your cooling system
Ductless Split Air Conditioning
Ductless split air conditioning units are perfect for homes and buildings without furnaces and ducts. The indoor unit is usually mounted high on walls, ceilings, or even on the floor. Since there is no ductwork, these units are recommended for condos or older homes with thick walls. Ductless split air conditioners have two main benefits:
- No venting is required
- The ability to set different temperatures for different rooms
Determining the type of unit you need is step 1. Before you reach out to a professional for installation, consider some of the following aspects when buying your new unit.
Things to Consider Before You Buy
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for your AC and there are a few things to consider before you buy. Price, size, and lifespan are all things to look into before investing in an air conditioning unit. Before you spend your money, carefully consider the following:
Your air conditioning unit needs to be the proper size to operate well, but larger doesn’t equal best. Your unit will work effectively when it’s sized for your home. Determining the correct unit size can depend on several factors, including:
- The size of your home
- Your home’s insulation
- The surrounding climate and region
Tons measure an air conditioner’s size, and your local air conditioning expert can help determine your needed unit size.
The efficiency of your unit is determined by how much cooling it delivers for each watt of electricity used. A unit’s efficiency rating is called its seasonal energy-efficiency rating (SEER). The higher your unit’s SEER level, the lower your energy costs are.
Several factors determine your air conditioner’s price. Cost can fluctuate depending on the type of unit you want or where you live. Some price determinants include:
- Efficiency rating
- Unit size
- Your climate
If you want specific features, a high SEER rating, or a larger unit, you’re likely to have a more expensive unit. Having an idea of what you want out of your air conditioner is great, and an expert can create an accurate quote for your needs.
The typical air conditioning unit lasts 15 to 20 years, but without proper maintenance, you might be calling for a repair sooner rather than later. Your installer can show you the best ways to maintain your unit, but there are general tips you can follow:
- Maintain your yard to eliminate potential overgrowth
- Keep your yard free of debris near the unit
- Clean the condenser and evaporator coils with an approved product
- Clean the indoor unit around the heat vents
- Give your outside unit at the beginning & end of the season to rinse away dirt & debris
When purchasing your new air conditioning unit, check your warranty carefully to see what is covered. Confirm with your installation company, but most usually cover the:
- Connecting tubing
- Refrigerant charge
Your air conditioner will make noise no matter what, but quieter units typically fall between 50 to 60 decibels (dB). 50dB is equal to the sound of rainfall while 60dB is the sound of a regular office. Some air conditioners can have features to reduce noise, such as:
- Variable-speed blower fans
- Noise-reducing fan blades
Noise is just one of the many considerations to make when you’re buying a central air conditioning unit. If you’re getting lost in the details, your local air conditioning experts can help you make the best decision for your home.
Keep Your Home Cool
Air conditioning can keep your home cool during warm summer nights, but it can be hard to consider all details. You don’t need to make this decision alone, if you need a quote or general inquiry, contact your local expert.