HVAC & PLUMBING BLOG

New AC, New You! – Everything You Want to Know About Purchasing AC Units

Summer is fully here, if you’re lucky your AC is working just fine and you’re enjoying the cool air inside. If it isn’t working, well, there’s not time to delay! You need to get your AC looked at, and if necessary get a new one! A new AC will have your home feeling like a million bucks in no time, but before you buy read on, we are going to cover everything you need to know about buying a new AC unit.

Buying a New AC Unit

First things first, be aware that there are several different kinds of air conditioners out there. This blog is specifically talking about central AC units. There are also window or wall mounted units out there. If you are looking to cool down a single room or a studio apartment, that might be what you are looking for. Need a whole house solution? Then read on!

Look at the SEER

The Seasonal Energy Efficinecy Ratio, or SEER, is defined by the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute as a measure for the AC units ability to cool as compared to its needed energy consumed. It uses British thermal units (BTUs) and watt hours to determine this. But you don’t need to know all that math, just look for the SEER on a yellow tag attached to the side of the AC unit. The higher the number the better, look for 11.6 or higher if possible.

Energy Efficient Features

Again, energy efficiency is huge when it comes to shopping for AC. These features make for a better unit.

  • Large coils (helps with more efficient heat transfer)
  • A variable-speed blower to reduce electricity consumption
  • A fan-only switch. If you don’t need cooling, just some air circulation, this will let you get the job done without the excess energy draw.
  • An automatic delay fan switch
  • A filter indicator light. This lets you know when the filter needs changing, helping you stay on top of maintenance and keep the unit running smoothly.

What Size Do You Need?

It can be difficult to know what size of unit you need. While you might be able to figure it out (there are a lot of factors involved in determining this) working with an experienced business like ACE will ensure you get the exact right size unit for your needs. One of the factors you are likely to come across is one of ‘tonnage.’ Don’t stress! You’re not about to put a ton of weight on top of your roof!

So What’s a Ton?

A ton is a measure of the AC units total cooling power. A two ton unit is more powerful than one ton. But think twice on this, because bigger isn’t always better.  How do you know what size you need?

What Size Central Air Conditioner is Right for My House?

Location (of course), insulation, square footage of your home, spaces in your home including attic, crawl spaces, ducts available, and more are all factors that play into the proper size of your needed AC unit. Because of this you need to have a technician who knows what he’s doing come out and inspect the home in question. While there are some rules of thumb you can follow (for instance, in the Southwest a good thought is using one ton of AC power for every ~400 square feet of home) but these are just guidelines. You need to take into account all factors before deciding on a unit, and an expert can help.
Alright, so maybe that wasn’t what you hoped for, but if we are completely honest, we have been out to too many homes with underforming, inefficient AC setups because the homeowner wanted to handle it all themselves. But, you know what features to look for, what SEER rating to keep an eye peeled. With those and some on site, expert inspection your home will be cooling down in no time.