Getting a new air conditioner for your St. Peters, MO, home is a major investment. It should serve you for 10 to 15 years, so you want to make sure it’ll last. Here’s what you need to know before buying a new AC system for your home.

Get the Right Size

First and foremost, you’ll need to figure out what size of unit you need for your home. To determine the right size, you’ll need to have a professional perform a load calculation, which measures the amount of cooling and heating power your home requires. It takes a variety of factors into account, including the size of your home, the climate zone, the roof material, how your home faces and more.

Failing to get the right-sized unit will cost you on two fronts: utility bills and premature AC repairs. If your air conditioner is too small, it’ll struggle to cool your home, leading to longer cooling cycles that expend more energy and put more wear on your system.

Conversely, an oversized AC system will get your home to the set temperature too quickly, causing short cycling. While that might not sound like an issue, repeatedly starting and stopping the cooling process will make your unit wear out more quickly. It also prevents your air conditioner from properly conditioning the air, including balancing its humidity levels.

Evaluate the SEER Rating

Efficiency is a critical component of evaluating new air conditioners. You’ll want to keep an eye out for the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating. The ratio divides the cooling output by the energy used to indicate how efficiently an air conditioner operates.

The Department of Energy increased the minimum SEER rating in 2015, raising it to from 13 to 14. This means that most systems manufactured before 2015 are less efficient than systems currently available.

The more efficiently your system runs, the less it’ll cost to cool your home. However, more efficient systems tend to cost more than less efficient systems. The right option is often a balance between installation and utility costs.

Consider Two-Stage Compressors

The compressor is the most important component of the air conditioner. Without this working properly, the system cannot transfer the heat from inside the house to the air outside. Air conditioners offer two different kinds of compressors, single and two-stage models.

Single-stage compressors essentially work on high all the time. This simplifies the system and frequently costs less to install. The tradeoff is that it costs more to run and wears the compressor more quickly.

Two-stage compressors, on the other hand, have higher and lower operating settings. When the system is running to maintain the temperature, it’ll typically need the lower setting. This reduces the energy consumed, as well as the wear on the compressor itself, but costs more to install.

How To Buy Your Unit

There are a few different ways to go about purchasing a new air conditioner. You can buy it from a local retail supplier or even some online retailers or wholesalers. When you go this route, you’re left having to figure out how you’ll install it.

The other option, more commonly used, is purchasing a unit from the HVAC company you choose for installation. Purchasing from an approved dealer allows you to take advantage of rebates and other incentives. Plus, you know the company responsible for serving the unit should it malfunction prematurely.

When to Buy

The time of year that you purchase your unit has a significant impact on its cost. If at all possible, plan for a replacement in the off-season, such as the fall or winter. Many AC manufacturers offer rebates during these seasons, not to mention that it’s easier to schedule the installation.

Professional Installation or DIY?

The final question is whether you should hire a licensed HVAC company. The other option is to do it yourself or rely on a friend or your family.

Many homes have improperly installed air conditioners, reducing the system’s efficiency. Further, non-professional installation may invalidate both the manufacturer’s warranty and your homeowner’s insurance.

Make sure you get the best system for your house and have it installed properly. Call to schedule your consultation with one of our AC installation experts at Indoor Comfort Team.

Image provided by iStock

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