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Home Air Conditioner Guide for Beginners

If you’re new to buying cooling systems, check out this home air conditioner guide to ensure you purchase the ideal AC for your home.

You are finally making steps in replacing your old central AC, but you are clueless on how to look for a new system or how much to spend. Don’t be shy in admitting you know nothing about ACs. Let this replacement be a breeze with the help of this home air conditioner guide.

Unfortunately, several factors can influence the cost of a new central AC. It can be truly intimidating for an average homeowner like you.

But the good thing is that this home air conditioner guide will teach you all about the essentials, so you know exactly what to do, what to expect and what to prepare for until the installation is complete.

Choose the Air Conditioner Type

Will you go with a straight cool or an air-source heat pump? But before deciding, know first what kind of AC you have at home. Familiarize yourself with the two common types:

  • Straight Cool (can only cool your home)
  • Heat Pump (ACs that cools and heats your home)

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) = Energy Efficiency Rating

Do you want to spend less in cooling your home during summer? It is time to check out SEER ratings. You’ll find out how energy-efficient an AC is by checking the seasonal energy efficiency ratio. SEER often ranges from 13 up to 21. You have a more efficient AC when the number goes higher.

However, remember that an AC’s price also goes up when its SEER rating goes higher. Pay more up front for these systems but you’ll be able to enjoy more efficiency at a fraction of the cost during summertime.

home air conditioner guide

Tons = AC Size

Tons can range from 1.5 up to 5, and it pertains to the AC’s capacity to remove heat from your house. Contrary to SEER, higher is not better. An AC’s ton relies on different factors about your home (such as the number of windows and the square footage).

Good for you, because it’s not your job to figure it out. Hire an AC expert to do a cooling load calculation first to find out the right size.

2-Stage Cooling = High and Low Cooling Settings

2-stage ACs likewise have 2-stage compressors, letting the AC, similar to a fan, operate at various settings depending on what’s the weather like.

  • High setting = hot weather
  • Low setting = cooler weather

You no longer need to change the settings manually because the AC can detect the indoor temperature and switch from low to high setting automatically.

2-Stage Air Conditioner Benefits

  • Reduce energy costs
  • Removes more humidity from the house
  • Circulates conditioned air more evenly all over the house

Matched System = Replace Both Indoor and Outdoor Units

A standard central AC is a split system that has two units:

  • Indoor unit (Evaporator)
  • Outdoor unit (Condenser)

During replacements, most homeowners only change one of them because:

  • No need to replace both units since only one is broken.
  • It is expensive to replace both units.

But this is not a good practice. You can only achieve a “matched system” if both your outdoor and indoor units are a match for each other.

“Unmatched Systems” can bring about the following problems:

  • Reduced energy efficiency
  • Reduced lifespan
  • Premature breakdowns
  • No warranty
  • Higher installation costs
  • Still uses the old -22 refrigerant (more expensive and will eventually be phased out by the year 2020)

This home air conditioner guide addresses all the basics you need to know when thinking of HVAC replacements. Arm yourself with the right knowledge and skills, so that you have the ideal and a more efficient HVAC system that will last you a long time at a price you can afford.