When the weather heats up, thinking about cooling down your home can make you sweat — literally. Installing or replacing an air conditioning unit can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Learning about the different types of systems and features can help you navigate how to buy an air conditioner that meets your cooling requirements. Research and develop a game plan before shopping around to reduce your anguish and ensure you will buy the most effective product.
Types of Air Conditioning Units
Before you can start buying an air conditioner, you must understand the different types of units. There are various types of air conditioning units you can choose from, depending on your cooling goals and the needs of your home. Some of the primary types of air conditioning units include:
Central Air Conditioning
These systems are one of the most common air conditioning units homeowners have since they can cool an entire home. Central air conditioning units utilize an indoor and outdoor unit and the home’s ductwork. These systems rely on refrigerant to convert the warm air in your home to cool air, displacing the heated air outdoors while bringing cooler air inside. Central air conditioners can also be combined with a programmable thermostat so you have the most control over the temperature in your home.
Ductless Mini-Split Systems
These systems are similar to central air conditioning units but don’t use a duct system to circulate air throughout your home. Ductless mini-split systems use one outdoor unit and one or more indoor units, typically mounted high on the wall. Tubing connects the indoor and outdoor units as opposed to ductwork. You can install these units in individual rooms with their own thermostat to help control temperatures.
Hybrid Cooling Systems
These systems utilize heat pumps. Heat pumps operate like a normal A/C unit, except with the additional ability to allow refrigerant to flow in the opposite direction, transferring heat into the home. In the summer, the heat pump pulls heat from your home and releases it outside. During the winter, the heat pump draws in warmth from outside and distributes it inside. Hybrid systems alternate between fuel and electricity to help reduce overall utility costs and improve efficiency.
These systems are installed in windows and come in various sizes to ensure they’re compatible with different window sizes. Window units come with all the necessary components in one system, making them ideal as a compact cooling solution. These units are often used to cool individual rooms or spaces and come with their own cooling settings, allowing you to choose your ideal temperature for specific rooms in your home.
Features to Look for in an Air Conditioner
Some features you should look at when deciding what type of A/C you should buy include the following:
Energy-saving switch: Many people aren’t aware that an air conditioner’s fan runs continuously, even when you turn off the compressor. A constantly running fan can quickly drive up energy costs, especially if you don’t need it to keep consistent temperatures in your home. You should look for a unit with an energy-saving switch, which lets the fans turn off alongside the compressor, helping you save money each month.
Remote control: You may want remote control features to control the temperature in your home from anywhere. This feature is ideal when you want to change the temperature in the middle of the night quickly or if you want to change the temperature before you get home.
Sleep modes: This feature helps raise the temperature in your room slightly around bedtime to prevent you from getting too cold at night, which is ideal for those who wake up freezing and have to get up to change the temperature manually.
Timers: Timers on air conditioners help you turn on your unit at a predetermined time when you’re not home, which helps your home cool down before you arrive. Timers can help you save on energy costs by keeping your home warmer in the summer when no one is home but cooling it down before you get home to keep you comfortable.
Oscillating vents: These vents help sweep the cool air from side to side, which helps cool the room more evenly and effectively.
Check filter lights: Your filter is essential to the health of your air conditioner, preventing allergens and dust from circulating freely in your home and ensuring your air conditioner doesn’t become clogged and restrict airflow. Changing your air filter is essential, but it can be easy to forget if you lead a busy life. A “check filter” light helps remind you when you need to change your filter, usually once every one to three months.
Factors to Consider When Buying an Air Conditioner
Cost: One of the first factors to consider is the cost. Different systems will cost more or less based on their features and energy requirements. While you’ll want to look for an air conditioning system within your budget, you’ll also want to find one that meets all your needs. You want an efficient air conditioning system that can last for long periods while staying within your budget, so ensure you research the different models available.
Capacity: Capacity refers to the size of the space you want to cool, which will determine what type of air conditioner you should buy. Choosing the right air conditioner can help make your system more efficient and expand its life span. You don’t want to choose a smaller system if you want to cool your entire home, so it’s essential to calculate how much space you need to cool and which system works best to meet your needs.
Energy-efficiency: Most air conditioning systems have an energy-efficient rating, indicating how much energy is required to provide adequate cooling. The higher the rating, the less energy is required, and your energy costs will be lower. Ideally, you’ll want to choose an air conditioning system with the best energy-efficient rating to increase your savings.
Air quality: A/C systems come with a filter to help reduce the number of pollutants, dust, and allergens in your home. Some systems are better at improving the air quality in your home than others. You may also want to look for an air conditioner that’s good at dehumidification if you live in a humid environment, which will help further improve the air quality in your home.
Installation and maintenance: You’ll want to choose a reliable A/C installer to ensure your unit performs at peak efficiency. Poor installation practices can damage the components of your unit or make it less likely to meet your performance standards. A reliable A/C installer will have the necessary knowledge and expertise to install your unit correctly the first time. Additionally, you’ll want to look for an installer offering maintenance and repair services to ensure your system can perform for years to come.
Additional Costs of A/C Unit Installations
When buying your unit, be sure to ask about the manufacturer’s warranty and installation costs. Nothing says “welcome to the neighborhood!” like having your A/C unit malfunction and fall out the window possibly onto your neighbor’s side porch. We don’t foresee that being an efficient way to meet the folks next door.
Of course, price will be a significant factor when buying such an essential piece of equipment. Some units can be as low as $50 to upwards of $800 if you’re feeling fancy. However, the key point to keep in mind is to find an A/C unit that is compatible with your lifestyle. Best of luck, and happy A/C hunting!
Trust Shipley Energy Home Services for Your Air Conditioning Needs
Do you need some information on a new A/C system for your home? Shipley Energy Home Services offers a full line of high-efficiency A/C units. We can install an energy-efficient air conditioner in your home and help you keep up with the necessary maintenance to ensure your air conditioner can meet your cooling needs in the summer months. Contact us to learn more about our services and how we can help you find the best air conditioning system for your home.