Whether you need to replace your old air conditioner or install one for the first time, knowing what to look for can be challenging. This guide will help you make an informed buying choice. The key is to choose a system that is appropriately sized for your space. A unit that is too small will need help to keep your home cool, while an oversized team could short cycle and wear out more quickly.
Buying a new air conditioning system is a significant financial commitment. The final cost of the system will depend on several factors. Choosing the right size of AC unit for your home is essential. An appropriately sized system will reduce your utility bills, increase the lifespan of the equipment and provide even and comfortable indoor temperatures. A professional HVAC contractor can calculate load to determine the correct air conditioner size needed for your home. The sizing calculation uses square footage, heat gain/loss, and environmental circumstances to find the best size system for your home. Central AC units come in various BTU (British thermal unit) capacities, from 1.5 to 5-ton. A homeowner can estimate what size unit they need by multiplying the square footage of their home by 18. This will give them a rough estimate of the BTUs required for cooling.
The noise level of an air conditioner is an important consideration. Unwanted noises can disrupt sleep and hamper concentration. Noise pollution can also disturb neighbors. Noise can be measured using something called decibels, or dB. The lower the number, the quieter the unit. Different noise levels exist, and what’s considered acceptable depends on the individual. Generally, anything that is over 85 dB for eight hours will cause hearing damage. A typical home air conditioning system is around 60 dB when working at total capacity. Measuring the noise level of a new air conditioning unit with a sound meter purchased online or from a hardware store is possible. However, having an air conditioning installation contractor do it for you is best. Remember, the decibel system is logarithmic, meaning a sound 10 decibels louder will seem twice as loud. This means that a whisper at 3 feet equals 30 dB, while a car stereo at 50 feet equals 80 dB.
A cooling system’s capacity, also known as its tonnage, is essential when selecting the best equipment for your home. The term ton doesn’t refer to the weight of the equipment but rather how much heat it can remove from space in one hour. Tons are measured in BTU per hour, and you can find a unit’s tonnage by looking at the model number. The basic rule of thumb is that an air conditioner needs 20 BTUs for every square foot of living space. However, other factors like ceiling height can require more or less capacity. The amount of energy a unit uses can also affect your comfort. A high SEER rating means the team will consume less energy, which can help lower your utility bills. However, a low SEER rating unit may require more electricity to achieve the same comfort level. This is why talking with your licensed cooling professional about energy usage is a good idea.
Whether you’re building new, updating your current home, or purchasing a rental property, the type of air conditioning system you choose and its efficiency will be essential in keeping your family comfortable. New HVAC systems are much more energy efficient than units installed just five or ten years ago, so buying a new team with higher efficiency ratings could save you money on your monthly utility bills.
An efficient AC should also be able to dehumidify the air to keep it feeling relaxed and comfortable. A high dehumidification rating will help you reduce mold and mildew problems.
Choosing the right size system will also affect how efficiently your new air conditioner performs. If the unit is too large, it may cycle on and off more frequently, which can cause wear and tear on parts. On the other hand, an undersized unit won’t be able to keep up during hot and humid days. Having your air conditioner properly sized should be done by a professional.