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What Should I Look for in a New Air Conditioner?

Posted on August 6, 2014
by Appleby Systems

If your air conditioner is over 15 years old, consider replacing it soon. Besides nearing the end of its useful lifetime, newer air conditioners use far less electricity, which means the unit may pay for itself over several years.

Figure Your Home’s Cooling Needs

New air conditionerBefore you start shopping for a new A/C unit, calculate the unit size you need. Otherwise, you may spend too much for excess capacity or end up with a unit that has inadequate cooling power. Seek help from an air conditioning vendor or use an online calculator yourself. Your goal is to find a unit that closely matches your air conditioning requirements based mainly on square footage. Factors besides square footage can modify these requirements:

  • Presence of appliances that produce heat
  • The home’s amount of insulation
  • The size and location of windows
  • The amount of shade during hot months

 

Air Conditioning Efficiency

The Energy Efficiency Ratio of an air conditioning unit tells you how well it utilizesEnergy-Star electricity. Typical ERR values for new air conditioners range from 11 to 13 or better. Older units usually have an ERR around 8 minus 1 ERR for each five years of service. So, a new unit can easily be twice as efficient as your present air conditioner.

Types of Air Conditioners

Depending on your A/C needs, narrow your selections by looking only at types of units that make sense. For cooling one or two room, a window unit or portable air conditioner might be the best choice. Larger areas benefit from larger through-wall units. If your entire home needs cooling in the summer, then your best bet is a central air unit.

While the smaller units can often be installed by the average homeowner, whole-house air conditioners should be installed by professionals.

Air Conditioner Features

Modern air conditioners have a number of features that increase comfort and enhance unit efficiency:

  • Adjustable thermostats for single room units or zone thermostats for whole-house units
  • Multiple cooling speeds or automatic variable fan speeds
  • Fan override so that the unit provides ventilation without cooling
  • Adjustable vents to direct air flow where you need it most
  • Easily replaceable air filters or fine particle electrostatic filters
  • A minimum 5 year warranty plan

Estimating the Payback

Purchasing a new air conditioner is a non-trivial expense for most people, especially for aCarrier A/C whole house unit. However, the return on your investment and increased comfort levels will be significant.

Consider first the energy savings of a newer unit. Based on your local cost of electricity, estimate your annual savings. Multiplying the annual savings times the length of the warranty can come close to paying for the initial cost of the new unit.

For example, in Toronto most homeowners pay about 10 cents per KW/h. A small A/C unit that is on 500 hours per year consumes about 1200 KWs. If the new unit is a high-efficiency model, your savings would be roughly $60 per year. Over the life of a 5-year warranty, your savings equal $300 if electricity costs do not rise. That is probably most of the cost of the unit.

Get Started Today

Once you have your selection of A/C unit narrowed to just a few, come in to our storefront and see If our models meet your needs. Call us today for recommendations on where to get started.
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