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Things To Look For When Buying An Air Conditioner

Photo by Rafael De Nadai on Unsplash

Air conditioners can be an absolute godsend on a hot day, but they can also be a serious problem. From skyrocketing electricity bills to constant maintenance costs. Knowing how to pick the right one that will last you for the next 10 years can be a challenge. Luckily for you, we are here to help.

#1 Programmable Thermostat

When you're buying an air conditioner or HVAC system, consider spending a bit more for a programmable thermostat as well. Once it's installed, consider that programmable thermostat as a cash register. Set it at 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer. When you're away from home, adjust it 7 to 10 degrees cooler or warmer and you can save 10 percent annually on your energy bill, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Contributors: Jeff Mumford from Choose Energy, Inc.

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#2 Quiet and Durable

Purchase a unit that:

  • Is quiet. Some air conditioners are very noisy and keep people awake at night.
  • Is durable and will last a long time.
  • Has easily available part replacements for the compressor and other components that may wear out.

Contributors: Janet Heller from Janet Ruth Heller Books 

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#3 The Right Size For Your Home

You want to make sure that the A/C size is sufficient for the square footage of your home. You may want to save money by going with a 2-ton system when, in fact, you need a 2.5 system. While you make think the difference won't be that big, you'll notice it. Some rooms in your home simply won't get cold and will remain warm through the summer months.

Contributors: J.R.Duren from Highya

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#4 Energy Efficiency and Environmental Impact

Air conditioning units today are more efficient using less energy and cooling your home faster than older units. That reduction in energy can eventually result in significantly reduced energy bill costs. Depending on your unit, even if your unit is still functioning, purchasing a new unit could significantly reduce your energy bills over time. A well-maintained unit could be efficiently running after 12 or more years, however, an overused, non-maintained unit may have a drastically reduced lifespan. When purchasing a new unit, consider SEER. Each energy efficient air conditioner model comes with a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER), spanning a points system of 13-21 SEER.  The higher the SEER, the more efficient the unit, the lower the amount of energy consumed when running the air conditioner, and the lower your energy bill.

Contributors: 1800anytyme.com

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#5 The environment

It’s no secret that AC isn’t exactly the environment's best friend, but heat waves are heat waves and as virtuous as we’d like our personal comfort level can be hard to ignore. By getting a portable AC unit you can’t save energy, money, and do minimal harm to the environment by selectively cooling, as opposed to using central air.

Contributors: Caleb Backe from Maple Holistics

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#6 Split System AC

Split systems are the most common type of central AC, using ductwork and a mechanical blower to distribute air. It's split because refrigerant is circulated between an indoor unit (housing the coil) and an outdoor unit (housing the condenser and compressor). Indoor and outdoor units must be properly matched for compatibility and efficiency. Some types, such as heat pump styles, offer both heating and cooling.

Contributors: Richard Ciresi from Aire Serv

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#7 Refrigerant

R-22 refrigerant, the coolant of choice in pre-2010 systems is continually being phased out by the E.P.A and U.S. Government due to environmental concerns in favor of R-410, a friendlier alternative. As of January 1, 2020, only recovered, recycled or reclaimed R-22 may be used to service existing systems, with the cost of maintaining these systems expected to rise. When selecting a new system, be certain it is R-410A compatible.

ContributorsRichard Ciresi from Aire Serv

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#8 Cooling Capacity

Sizing of an air conditioner. When choosing the size of your AC, keep in mind your room size and the number of people in the room. Also, think about the number of things kept in the room. These three factors are the main determinants of air in the room that will need to be cooled. Every object in the room will need to be cooled. So the less things you have, the less you’ll have to spend on your electricity bill. Once you know your room size, think about measuring cooling capacity (BTU). The room cooling won’t be cost effective or cool effective if the BTU/hour is right.

Contributors: Konstantinos Vassilopoulos from HVAC Experts Chicago

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#9 Brands

Know that certain big-name, reliable A/C manufacturers produce other A/C brands in their factories and those other brands tend to present some pretty good value for the money.

Contributors: J.R.Duren from Highya

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#10 Technology

  • Thermal Expansion Valve: Helps your unit better cope with high temperatures
  • Fan-only Switch: Using this switch to circulate air at night rather than run the AC can significantly reduce energy use
  • Automatic-delay Fan Switch: Moves remaining cool air through ducts after your system turns off
  • Filter Check Light: Ensures the efficiency and lifespan of your system by reminding you of filter maintenance
  • Variable Speed Air Handler: Saves energy by allowing different speeds of air movement based on your cooling needs, rather than simply off or full blast.

ContributorsRichard Ciresi from Aire Serv

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  1. Dear Ben Skute ,

    Thank you for including my advice in your article about purchasing an air conditioning unit. I think that your article will be useful to many readers. Best wishes!

    Sincerely,

    Janet Ruth Heller
    Author of the poetry books Exodus (WordTech Editions, 2014), Folk Concert: Changing Times (Anaphora Literary Press, 2012) and Traffic Stop (Finishing Line Press, 2011), the scholarly book Coleridge, Lamb, Hazlitt, and the Reader of Drama (University of Missouri Press, 1990), the middle-grade chapter book for kids The Passover Surprise (Fictive Press, 2015, 2016), and the award-winning picture book for kids about bullying, How the Moon Regained Her Shape (Arbordale, 2006; fourth edition 2014).
    My website is https://www.janetruthheller.com/

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