Winter is still with us, but warm weather will be here before you know it, and if your air conditioner is on its last legs, it might not be up for the job of keeping your home cool during the hottest months. If your warranty has expired and you’re concerned about your system’s ability to function, now is the time to start planning a replacement session. Doing so before the summer hits gives you to the time to select the unit that’s right for you, as well as scheduling a time to put it in that meets with your schedule instead of rushing in the face of an encroaching heat wave. Your service representative can perform the right calculations and go through your options with you, but there are at least three primary factors that you should seriously consider when making your selection.
1. The Type of Air Conditioner
Most people in the area use centralized air conditioners that cool the air using refrigerant, then blow the cooled air into your home with a fan. It’s a great system and if your older AC is of the same type, there’s no reason to change. Depending upon your circumstances, you may want to consider an alternative type of cooling, such as:
- Ductless systems that place multiple smaller units throughout your home.
- Heat pumps that combine the features of heaters and air conditioners into one.
- Geothermal systems that draw upon the power of the earth itself to heat and cool your home.
Talk to your technician to see if these options are right for you.
2. The Power Level of the Air Conditioner
An underpowered air conditioner is the last thing you want, since it will run constantly and elevate your monthly bills without ever getting the home cool. But most people don’t know that overpowered air conditioners are just as bad: cycling on and off rapidly throughout the day and wasting a great deal of energy in the process. (Air conditioners use more power turning on and shutting off than they do simply running.) The technician can examine your home and provide the proper power levels that are neither too small nor too large but just right.
3. The Air Conditioner’s Efficiency
Air conditioners measure efficiency with a rating called SEER, which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The higher the rating, the more effectively the air conditioner does its job, so you want to get the unit with the highest SEER rating that meets your price range. That will not only help keep monthly costs down, but will help reduce wear and tear on the system, and might even help extend its overall life.
That said, you should determine your system’s power levels before factoring efficiency. An underpowered unit with a higher SEER rating doesn’t make much sense, since it will run longer than (and spend more energy than) a more appropriately-sized unit regardless.
If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner in the Salt Lake City, UT area, call on the pros at Skylake Heating & Air today!