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Purchasing a new air conditioner is an important decision. In addition to representing a significant investment, the choices you make will affect the comfort and energy efficiency of your home for the next 15-20 years.
Complicating matters is the fact that air conditioner purchase decisions are often made quickly in response to an older system failing. At SmartHouse, we recognize these unique circumstances and dedicate ourselves to helping you make the best choices possible.
Here are some things you need to think about…
When replacing an air conditioner, it is important to determine the proper size. While it may seem reasonable to simply replace an old unit with a new one of the same size, the fact is that many homes have systems that are improperly sized.
SmartHouse calculates proper sizing for every installation through a process known as ‘Manual J’ load calculation. This process takes into account the size, construction, windows, insulation and orientation of your home to arrive at the proper size solution.
Another decision relates to how energy efficient you would like you system to be. More efficient systems cost more to acquire but save energy (and thus money) over time.
Central air conditioners are rated according to their seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). SEER indicates the relative amount of energy needed to provide a specific cooling output. Many older systems have SEER ratings of 6 or less. The minimum SEER allowed today is 13. Look for the ENERGY STAR® label for central air conditioners with SEER ratings of 13 or greater, but consider using air conditioning equipment with higher SEER ratings for greater savings.
You should also know that a SEER rating depends not just on the air conditioner itself, but also on the coil and furnace (air handler) that it is mated with.
It is common for high SEER air conditioners to actually perform at lower levels. In other words, you could pay a lot for a high SEER system without getting the benefit.
Conversely, a system could perform at a level higher than the manufacturer claims. The actual performance level is determined by AHRI, the governing trade association for the Heating and Air Conditioning Industry.
It is best practice to replace your air conditioner along with a properly matched coil. For best performance and comfort, pair your new air conditioner with a modern furnace (or air handler) that features a variable speed blower motor.
If you are installing a complete system, SmartHouse will always provide a certificate from AHRI indicating a properly matched and conforming system.
The largest variable cost in any purchase is installation. A fact well know within the HVAC industry is that the performance and longevity of your purchase depends on the skill of the installer as well as their willingness to apply that skill for your benefit.
There are dozens of steps required to install an air conditioning system. These steps involve skills including sheet metal fabrication, tube bending, brazing and electrical. There are steps that a technician can omit to save time that can cost years off the life of a system (such as charging copper lines with nitrogen while brazing.
Count on SmartHouse to take the time necessary to perform every step just right. Our technicians are not on a time budget so they can feel free to do the job properly for you.
SmartHouse offers a broad range of air conditioners featuring a variety of efficiency levels and features. SmartHouse’s expertly trained technicians will assess your personal goals and home’s needs and provide you with recommendations for the right system.