Investing in a New AC Unit?
Warm climates, particularly Floridian ones, often require a little extra effort on the part of homeowners to remain cool and comfortable. According to the Orlando Sentinel, for example, the population in Florida only really began to take off once air conditioning became more available in the 1960s. Air conditioners lower the temperature to comfortable ranges that will be optimal for both your and your family’s health as elderly people and children tend to be more vulnerable to extreme temperatures than others. If you’re considering purchasing and/or investing in a new air conditioning unit (highly advisable if you’re down South), here are some things to keep in mind to make sure you’re getting the best AC for your needs.
Types of AC units
Room air conditioning and central air are two different things. If you live in an apartment or if you really don’t need AC in all of the rooms in your house, a window unit might be the right choice for you. Room AC (or window AC) attaches to your window and blows cool air into the room of your choosing. Central air conditioning, by contrast, is much more complex and consists of a condenser and air-handling unit, a blower, an evaporator coil, and ducts that will provide cool air throughout your house (it uses refrigeration technology to do this, essentially). Consider the type of air conditioning unit that will fit the needs of your household—window or central.
Central air costs
Central air is not cheap to operate and making sure that you aren’t overspending on your AC means implementing useful tips on cutting cooling costs, such as purchasing window treatment to block solar energy, turning it off when you’re not home, shading the unit, and other energy-saving measures. Compare air conditioner prices and benefits carefully before purchasing in order to ensure that you’re getting the best deal.
Central air replacement
At some point, you may need to replace your air conditioner. It is more cost effective to replace an old, deteriorating one than to try to keep it running. However, when replacing your central AC, make sure you replace both elements to it: the indoor evaporator and the outdoor condensing unit. If you replace just one and not the other, there will be a quality disparity between the two and the new part will be rendered useless because the other half of the system is subpar. Replace both.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) is an AC-purchaser’s greatest asset. The SEER was implemented by the US Department of Energy in an attempt to reduce waste. SEER ratings of 15-17 are the most efficient, and models made after January of 2006 have to have a SEER rating of at least 13. Look for the SEER label on each AC unit—it will most likely be a bright yellow piece of paper.
You can purchase thermostats and fans that are timed. By choosing to leave just the fan on, you will be able to circulate air throughout your home while saving money, because the fan costs less than the air conditioning unit itself. Balancing use of the air and fan, as well as programming your thermostat to turn off when you’re not home, is a great way to make sure that the unit you purchase is maximizing its cost effectiveness.
Without an air conditioner, the summers can be stifling, particularly in Florida. By purchasing AC, you’re ensuring comfort for you and your family members and providing a safe temperature range for those in your household who might be sensitive to hot weather. Hopefully, the list above has given you some important pointers to consider before investing in your AC unit.
However, these are all points consider, it would not hurt to talk with a professional, such as Bob Heinmiller, who can assist you with choosing the right unit.