Choosing an air conditioner can be a daunting task if you’re not sure what to look for. There are so many things you need to consider before deciding on a unit, such as size, energy efficiency, features, and cost. This guide should help you narrow down the best air conditioner for your needs.
One of the most important factors to consider when buying an air conditioner is the size of your home. Central air units are usually sized to match the square footage of a home and are measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units). They should be chosen based on the size of the space it will be cooling. If you buy a unit that is too small, it won’t be able to cool your space effectively. If you buy one that is too large, it will cost you more in energy bills and won’t cool your home adequately. The cooling capacity of residential air conditioners typically falls between 1.5 and 5 tons (or 18,000 – 60,000 BTUh). If the cooling capacity is any larger than that, it would be classified as light commercial.
Typical central air sizes to consider:
- 1.5-2 tons (18,000 – 24,000 BTUh) for small homes or apartments
- 2.5 tons (30,000 – 36,000 BTUh) for medium-sized homes
- 3 to 4 tons (36,000 – 48,000 BTUh) for large homes
Typical window unit sizes to consider:
- 5,000-8,000 BTUh for small rooms (up to 250 square feet)
- 8,000-12,000 BTUh for medium rooms (250 – 350 square feet)
- 12,000-18,000 BTUh for large rooms (350 – 600 square feet)
The cost of an air conditioner will vary depending on the type, size, and features. Central air conditioning units are more expensive than window units but are also more energy efficient. Window units are typically cheaper and easier to install, but they lack the energy efficiency of central units. High-efficiency models may cost more upfront, but they can save you money in the long run due to lower energy bills.
Typic central air unit prices:
- 1.5 – 2 tons: $2,000 – $3,000
- 2.5 tons: $2,500 – $4,000
- 3 – 4 tons: $3,500 – $6,000
Typical window unit prices:
- $100-$200 for basic models
- $200-$400 for mid-range models
- $400+ for high-efficiency models
When researching air conditioners, it’s important to consider the different brands available. Different brands offer different levels of quality, energy efficiency, and features.
Some popular central air conditioning brands including:
- American Standard
Some popular window unit brands include:
- Energy Efficiency
The more energy efficient a unit is, the lower your energy bills will be. Look for air conditioning units with the Energy Star label, which indicates that the system meets or exceeds government standards for energy efficiency. Also, look for SEER ratings, which measure the unit’s efficiency in cooling a particular space. The higher the rating, the more energy efficient the ac unit is.
You’ll have to decide if you want a standard or an extended warranty when purchasing your air conditioner. Most ac units come with standard 1-year parts and labor warranty, but some may offer an extended warranty that can last up to 10 years. An extended warranty can provide you with peace of mind and save you money in the long run if you have any repair issues down the line.
Humidity control is an important factor to consider when purchasing an air conditioner. Window units typically don’t have humidity control features, but central units do. If this is an important factor in your decision, look for units with dehumidification controls to reduce moisture levels in the air and help create a more comfortable environment.
The ease of installation is another important factor when buying a new air conditioner. Window units are typically easier to install since they’re designed to fit into existing window frames. On the other hand, central units need to be installed professionally since they require additional ductwork. If you’re on a strict budget, the cost of installation should also be taken into consideration when purchasing an air conditioner.
Making the Decision
Choosing the right air conditioner for your home or business doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does take research and careful consideration. Take your time to evaluate the different types of air conditioners available and make sure you choose one that fits your needs and budget. With the right unit, you’ll be able to keep your home or business cool while saving money on energy costs.