Choosing an Air Conditioning System

Choosing an Air Conditioning System for your home is an important decision that will impact your family’s comfort (and your utility bills!) for years to come.

Picking the right air conditioning system makes a lot of difference in your comfort and utlity bills

Photo Courtesy of tinuo bao via Flickr

Determining the Right Sized Air Conditioning System for Your Home

The first step to choosing an air conditioning system should be a call to a licensed contractor. A professional heating and cooling contractor can evaluate all the different variables that will determine your personal cooling requirements. Factors such as insulation, floor space, local climate, heat-generating appliances, and even the amount of exterior shade your home receives from trees will all be included in this assessment. From there, the contractor will be able to tell you exactly what the cooling capacity of your system needs to be.

Energy Efficiency

Once you have determined your home’s cooling requirements, usually given in Btu/h (British thermal units of heat removed per hour), it’s time to shop for an air conditioning unit matches that capacity. Air conditioner manufacturers are required by law to rate their equipment by energy efficiency, and this rating is known by the industry term SEER, or Seasonal Efficiency Rating. A higher SEER rating means that the unit is more efficient, and will cost less to operate.

Retrofitting or Installing a New System

With many older homes, it can be much less expensive to simply “retrofit” the house’s established heating system with the addition of an air conditioner. If your home already has a forced air heating system, it is possible to simply install a central air conditioning system with the existing ductwork. However, if there is no existing ductwork in your home, ducts can either be installed (a very expensive prospect), or a ductless central air system can be fitted. A heating and cooling professional will be able to give an estimate for either of these options, and give their personal advice as to which method would be more cost effective.

Beating the Heat Doesn’t Mean Breaking the Bank

Today’s low efficiency air conditioning systems are cheaper to run than the high efficiency models of just ten years ago, and quality climate control is more affordable than ever before.

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