Are ceiling fans no longer doing the job, or maybe your old dinosaur of an air conditioner is on its last legs? If you’re tired of panting through the dog days of summer, it’s time to look for a new AC system. Whether you’re installing air conditioning in your home for the first time or replacing an aging unit, here are four essentials to consider before you buy.
Your Home’s Square Footage
Size matters when it comes to your AC system. A unit that’s too small will fail to adequately cool the space, while one that’s too large wastes energy. To determine the correct tonnage for a central AC unit, divide the total number of square feet in your home by 600. Remember to exclude areas like garages and attics. If you would prefer a single-room window unit, simply multiply the square footage of the room by 25 to estimate how many BTU you need.
Your Energy Bill
Choosing the most energy efficient AC system you can reasonably afford pays big dividends in savings on your monthly utility bill. You can seek out the energy star logo to ensure that your new AC meets current efficiency standards, but another important consideration is the unit’s SEER number. SEER stands for “seasonal energy efficiency rating,” and a higher number means greater efficiency.
Your Home’s Wiring and Ductwork
A new air conditioner is useless if it doesn’t work with your home’s existing electrical system, so make sure your wiring can handle the load. Are you concerned that your wiring is outdated? Look for AC installation services with experience working on older homes. Another important consideration is whether your home has adequate ductwork. If not, you can choose a window unit or wall-mounted system.
Finally, the most important consideration when buying an AC system is your budget. If you can’t afford the best system, go with the best you can afford. Look for special deals on gently used, discontinued or cosmetically damaged units to get more bang for your buck, and ask about financing options to spread the cost out over time. Keep in mind that spending a little more on a reliable, efficient unit can cost less in the long run.
Do you want to make your new AC system’s job easier? Take a load off your AC by using fans to help circulate air. Keep filters clean, take care of regular maintenance and consider installing a programmable thermostat so your unit only runs when needed.