Air conditioners are built to last 15 to 20 years when properly maintained. At some point, though, you will eventually have to replace the unit with a newer model. Here are three things you need to consider when upgrading your air conditioner to ensure you're purchasing the right one for your needs.
You May Need to Resize Your System
When shopping for a new air conditioner, your first impulse may be to purchase one that is the same size as your current unit. However, you could be making a mistake that may result in higher energy or repair bills down the line. First, the air conditioner could have been sized incorrectly when it was first installed. Second, changes made to the home since you–or the original owner–bought the unit will impact the A/C's performance.
For example, adding insulation and installing weatherproof windows and doors can make the house itself more energy efficient. Therefore, you may be able to get away with buying a smaller unit, especially since modern air conditioners are much more efficient than their ancestors. On the other hand, if you've added rooms, you may need a bigger unit to keep up with the additional demand.
You should have an HVAC technician or professional air conditioning contractor measure your home to determine the optimal size A/C unit you need. However, you can get a general idea by multiplying your home's square footage by 25, dividing that number by 12,000, and subtracting 0.5 from the total. This will give you the size unit you should be shopping for.
Be aware, however, that this number doesn't take into account the climate you're living in. If you live in hot, arid, or humid places, you may need a slightly bigger air conditioner to deal with the heat and/or excess moisture.
Look for Smart Home Compatible Units
Homes with windows, lights, doors, and appliances that could be operated from a central station used to be science fiction. In the last decade, however, smart homes are quickly becoming a fact of life with the advent of home automation technology. With more and more homes being upgraded or built with this tech, you should look for an air conditioner that can be seamlessly integrated into this type of system if—for no other reason—than to protect your home's market value. As automated homes become more ubiquitous, future buyers may bypass your home if it doesn't have any smart features.
However, an air conditioner with integrated smart technology can be very useful for saving money on your energy bill. Smart tech typically lets you monitor and control your air conditioner unit from anywhere, even if you're not actually in the home. You could turn off the A/C unit from work using your smartphone, for example.
Take time to research the different models available to find one in your price range with smart tech features that can benefit you and future owners.
As noted previously, air conditioners can last up to 20 years when well maintained. However, the cost of repairing an A/C unit can be expensive, depending on the brand. Looking into the cost of ownership for different brands before making the purchase can help you find one that truly fits your budget.
Additionally, you should opt to have a unit installed by a company that offers a maintenance plan. These plans can significantly reduce the cost of maintaining an air conditioner in two ways. First, the plan price typically covers routine inspections and minor repairs. Second, the plan may also have discounts built in for parts and labor associated with future major repairs. Sometimes you can negotiate the first year or two of a maintenance plan into the cost of installing a new air conditioner, so it's worth the effort to discuss this with the HVAC company.
For help with choosing the best central air condition for you, contact a local HVAC professional from a company like A-1 American Services.