Your cooling system is one of the most important parts of your home. During the hot summer months, nothing impacts the comfort of your home morethan a quality central air conditioner. If you find yourself without a reliable air conditioner, you may be looking into air conditioner installation in Longmont. But buying an air conditioner can be intimidating, especially when it comes to finding the right unit for your home and climate.
Although air conditioners are a pricey investment for your home, most units last around 15-20 years and provide comfort during the summer months. With such a big purchase, it’s important to do your research and find a unit and provider you can trust.
1. Choose the Right Size Unit
One of the most important parts of buying an air conditioner is ensuring you choose the right size. Unlike a window air conditioner, central air conditioners reach the entire house and need to match the right size. An air conditioner that is too small will have trouble keeping the entire house cool and could wear out more quickly, while a system that is too large could end up wasting energy and increasing your energy bill.
If you are replacing an old air conditioner, don’t assume that the size of the old unit is exactly what you need for the new unit. Talk with an HVAC professional to ensure you are buying the right size air conditioner. There isn’t a set formula of the best AC to buy or that houses of a certain size require a certain size of an air conditioner. An HVAC professional can perform a load calculation to determine the appropriate size unit while taking into account the size of the house, climate, roof material, direction the house faces, type of insulation, and many other factors.
2. Shop Off-Season if Possible
Buying an air conditioner is a big purchase and a major investment for your home. If possible, try to shop during the off-season, or the colder months when people aren’t using their air conditioners. Many companies run promotions during these months. It also saves you from waiting until your old unit breaks down during the heat of summer and having to replace it when the weather is hot.
There are obviously other factors and shopping ahead isn’t always possible, but it’s worth considering if your current AC unit is nearing the end of its life.
3. Hire an HVAC Professional
While the internet may tell you that it’s possible to install your own air conditioner, it’s always best to hire an HVAC professional. Cooling systems can be very complicated, and you don’t want to risk installing an air conditioner incorrectly or creating larger problems down the road that could cause the system not to work or to be unsafe. HVAC professionals are incredibly skilled in not only installing air conditioners but also ensuring you have the best unit for your home. If you have time, you can even get quotes and meet with multiple HVAC professionals before choosing the company that best meets your needs.
4. Consider SEER Score
One of the most important aspects of an air conditioner is its energy efficiency, which is measured by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER. Before you purchase an air conditioner, be sure to look at its SEER score and efficiency features. Every air conditioner has a SEER rating to mark its energy efficiency, and the score is listed on the Energy Guide label posted on each air conditioning unit. Units with higher SEER scores are more efficient.
A model needs to be rated 14 or higher to be considered energy efficient. The more energy-efficient an air conditioner is, the less power it requires to cool the house. Energy-efficient air conditioners are better for the environment because they use less power, but they are also better for your wallet by lowering your utility costs.
Air conditioners with higher SEER scores may be more expensive, but they will likely lead to long-term savings in your monthly bills. When looking at the prices of air conditioners, consider both the upfront costs and the long-term costs.
5. Look For Energy-Efficient Features
Aside from the actual SEER score, there are other features that can make a unit more energy efficient. Look for large coils for more efficient heat transfer. Features like a variable-speed blower, fan-only switch, and automatic delay on the switch also reduce energy consumption and give you more control over the air conditioner.
Models with a high temperature rating (EER) greater than 11.6 tend to have high-efficiency operation during hot weather. Features like these can make a big difference in the efficiency and cost of your air conditioner, especially when it is running frequently in the hotter months.
6. Make a Plan for Annual Maintenance
A new air conditioner is a big investment. Protect that investment by making a plan for regular maintenance right from the beginning. All air conditioners need an annual tune-up, even if they are just a year old.
This ensures that everything is in working order and can bring issues to your attention to get fixed proactively instead of waiting until they become larger (and likely more expensive) problems to fix. Ask your HVAC professional about a maintenance plan during installation when it is still top of mind.
7. Look For a Warranty
Many air conditioners come with warranties to protect the parts from any damage that may occur. Each model or manufacturer tends to have different warranty terms, so be clear on the terms before you make the purchase. Some companies cover everything for a set amount of years, while others will only cover the cost of parts or certain types of repairs.
To ensure your warranty stays valid, keep your air conditioner in good condition with regular cleanings and tune-ups. A warranty can be voided if the air conditioner isn’t cared for and maintained.
8. Consider Additional Features
Some air conditioners come with additional features to improve usage. Although these features aren’t usually necessary, they can often make your life easier and may even be worth the added cost.
Consider how your family will use the air conditioner and what features could be useful as you look at potential models. Additional features include variable-speed handlers and manual dampers that allow you to close off zones that aren’t being used. Some air conditioners also have features that help them run more quietly, which could be a nice feature for people who work from home or who enjoy the quiet.
Buying a new air conditioner could also be a good time to buy a programmable or smart thermostat. These devices are easy to set and control and can help run your air conditioner at the best levels based on the temperature and who is home. Setting a schedule with a programmable thermostat can lower utility costs because the unit isn’t constantly running when it isn’t needed.
9. Buy the Right Filters
The most important regular maintenance for your air conditioner is to replace the air filter regularly. Clean air filters make it easier for air to move through the air conditioner and through the house and prevent the system from having to work harder than necessary and breaking down faster.
A clean air filter is an inexpensive way to protect your investment in a new air conditioner. Most air filters should be replaced every 60-90 days, but that time decreases if you have pets in the home or live with people with allergies or respiratory issues. Once your new air conditioner is installed check the size of the air filter so you know what kind to purchase in the future.
10. Checking the Ductwork During Installation
Your air conditioner is part of a large HVAC system that connects to ductwork that runs through the entire house. Over time, ductwork and the sealing can start to wear down, which can cause air to leak out and not get to the right part of the house. Leaky ductwork can significantly decrease the efficiency of your new air conditioner.
When the new unit is installed, ask your HVAC professional to check the ductwork in the house to make sure things are working properly. If there is an issue that needs to be resolved or a piece that needs to be fixed, installation is a great time to get it done so you don’t end up wasting money and energy with bad ductwork.
Buying an air conditioner is a big investment in your home. These tips for air conditioner shopping can help the process go as smoothly as possible to keep your house comfortable and safe all summer long. Once you’ve purchased the right air conditioner for your home, let us help you install it safely and correctly.