This article was originally published by Meghan Belnap in RIS media’s housecall
Figuring out what type of residential AC system you need can be tough, especially when you aren't familiar with AC system purchases. Realistically, how many air conditioners have you bought in your life? At the very most, it could be three or four. So, you likely aren't an expert. If you don't deal with AC terms, repairs or replacements on a daily basis, knowing what AC system to buy can be frazzling. It's a task you may need and want to consult a professional on.
Now, having said that, you should at least have a working knowledge of what you need. If you're in the market for a residential AC system, these tips can give you a general idea of what to consider before making your purchase:
Before you start thinking of AC units, you need to check your ducts and make sure that they're working. If you don't have ducts, or if they are too old and damaged for you to use, then you're going to need a different type of AC system. Aside from this, your ducts will determine the proper equipment and other accessories you may need for your new HVAC system.
The Most Common System
The most common and popular residential cooling unit is a central air conditioner. Central air uses a split system to provide comfortable indoor air. This split system is made up of a part that goes inside and another part that goes outside. However, if your house is not equipped with air conditioning ducts, your only option for cooling the home may be to use a mini-split air conditioning unit installed in each room you want to cool.
Do you live in a state that experiences extremely hot weather? If this is the case, you'll need an HVAC system with a high Energy Efficiency rating. Getting a higher energy-efficient AC unit can save you about 40% on energy costs and reduce your carbon footprint when it comes to being greener. Check the label on your air conditioner to find out the seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio or SEER. For example, in Texas, you should have a Seer rating of at least 15.
Choose the right size for your HVAC system. The size will help save money on your monthly cooling cost during the hot months. The best way to do this is to measure the length and width of your living area, and determine the square footage of your house. Then, armed with this information, you can call your local HVAC technician and they can help you determine the right size air conditioner you need.
Consider maintenance needs when thinking about buying an HVAC unit. Remember that most AC units need yearly tune-ups in the spring to get it ready for the summer. Plus, inspections will also serve to keep parts in good condition and replace them when necessary.
To push through all of this extra information, doubts and questions, it's best to call in an HVAC contractor to inspect your house, look at your needs and quote you on an HVAC replacement. Remember to call two or three air conditioning specialists in your area to get a reliable quote before you make your decision.