Pick The Perfect Air Conditioner For Your Home

Articles

A new air conditioner is an investment that you only need to make once every 10 to 20 years. However, since you will be living with your air conditioner for the foreseeable future, it is worth your time to ensure that you get the right air conditioning unit for your home. While your HVAC technician will be a valuable resource, understanding how they create their recommendation will give you confidence that you are making the right choice.

Start With the Basics

Just like a Goldilocks for air conditioners, you are looking for the unit that is just right for your home. If there were only three choices, and you could try them all before you pick one out, the process would be much easier. Instead, you need to take the thousands of units on the market, narrow them down to the few hundred that would work in your home, and then further pare that list to less than a dozen choices. It seems impossible at first, but once you work through the process, your options will narrow dramatically with little effort. 

There are two main factors that determine what size of air conditioner you need for your home. The first, and most important, is the square footage that you will be cooling. A unit that is too small will struggle to keep up during the hottest parts of the year, and one that is too large will simply throw energy away. In both cases, the strange cycles that the unit will go through trying to cool your home will ultimately lower its life expectancy dramatically. 

If you absolutely must make a decision in a hurry, you can go solely by the square footage calculation. On the other hand, if you are willing to spend a little more time, you can further narrow down your situation to get a better fit. The next item on your checklist is the energy efficiency of your home. A newer, well-sealed home can use a smaller air conditioner since the cold air will stay inside instead of leaking out through the cracks. An updated older home can also achieve a high level of efficiency if you put the effort in. Most energy companies offer free or reduced price energy audits, and this is the best way to get a realistic view of how well your home holds air.

Factor in the Next Few Variables

Square footage and efficiency may be the primary components used to determine the proper size for your air conditioner, but they are not the only ones.

  • How many people are living in your home? In particular, you are interested in the ratio of people to space. People produce heat, so if your home is constantly full of people, you might want to err on the larger side.
  • What is your lifestyle like? Most modern conveniences produce a lot more heat than you think. Computers, TV and AV systems all put out massive amounts of heat when they are running. If you run several of these devices regularly, it can become difficult for a small air conditioner to keep up.
  • Are you willing to adjust your thermostat seasonally? The bigger the difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures, the harder your air conditioner has to work. If you are willing to turn your thermostat up in the summer, your AC won't need to work as hard to keep up.

Make the Best Choice for Your Budget

Now that you have the correct size for your air conditioner, it is just a matter of picking out the model that best fits your needs. However, you still need to choose more than what brand air conditioner you want. Modern advances have brought two stage units, which can run at a lower level to make small temperature adjustments, and zone based systems, which allow you to control the separate sections of your home individually. Purchasing one of these systems will cost you more up front, but allow you to recoup that money in energy savings over the live of the unit.

Choosing an air conditioner is difficult, but not impossible. An HVAC technician will be a valuable resource during the shopping process, but understanding the basics of the calculation will allow you to assist in making the right decision for your home.

Share

7 May 2015

Improving Your Home Heating System

Last winter, I became frustrated with how often our home was chilly and uncomfortable. It was really devastating to deal with the prospect of trying to stay warm at night and during the chilly days, but I realized that it might have something to do with our HVAC system. Instead of ignoring the issue, I decided that it might be best to contact a professional to check our system out. When the expert came out, he went through our machinery and found several issues. When it was fixed, the difference was amazing. Read more on this blog to find out how to improve your home heating system.