Whether you are building a brand new home or purchasing an older one, chances are you will have to purchase an air conditioner at some point. It can be one of the most expensive purchases that you will make for your home. Air conditioners will typically last ten or more years. Because it is so expensive, it is good to know how to make such a purchase and what to look for and avoid. If you purchase the right air conditioner, your home will feel comfortable all year long and it will be energy efficient and will not “break the bank”. Today, you can find air conditioners that will lower your energy bill and produce better quality air.
The first thing you want to do when purchasing an air conditioner is to make sure you find a contractor that you can trust. No homeowner, that does not work with air conditioners on a daily basis, can understand what all goes into the installation and works of an air conditioner. For this reason, you can be taken advantage of some contractors out there. Try and pick a contractor based on recommendations by friends, family or neighbors. If you are in a new area and do not know anyone, try a reputable referral network. Solicitors and telemarketers that are advertising a contractor are not to be trusted. Check to see how long the contractor has been in business. Five years is a good minimum to look for. If you wish to keep checking after following these steps, ask them specifically for references or names of past customers.
Once you have found a trustworthy contractor, trust their advice. If a friend is trying to recommend a brand or size that they are currently using, it may not always be the best for your particular home. Ask your contractor for suggestions. They will know what will better suit your home and they will know what brands give the best warranties.
Always make sure you buy an air conditioner that is the right size for your home. The saying “bigger is better” does not apply here. AC power is measured in tons. It used to be that you needed one ton for every four hundred square feet. Now, with more efficient cooling methods, it is recommended that homes can go with about twenty percent less tonnage. A larger air conditioner will stop and start more often, causing your energy bill to increase and could also cause the unit to breakdown. A smaller unit is more efficient.
Make sure that whatever unit you purchase, it has an Energy Star rating. This is how you reduce your energy bill and usage. Having an Energy Star system, however, does not matter if your ductwork is bad. Make sure that your heating and cooling is not leaking out due to bad ducts.
In this economy, price does make a difference. But, with something as important as an AC unit, it may be in your best interest to set price aside. A cheaper unit may end up costing more in the long run for many reasons. Buy purchasing a cheaper unit, you will run the risk of it breaking down or quitting altogether before its proposed ten years comes to a close. This will end up costing more in repairs or even possibly, the purchase of a brand new unit.