Air Conditioner Shopping? Consider These Tips

Air Conditioner Shopping? Consider These Tips

It doesn’t make sense to take shortcuts when shopping for a new air conditioner. This is a major system for your home, and an error in selecting an A/C could have long-term consequences in both comfort and energy costs. Consider the following information when choosing a new A/C:

Your options — Your choices will include one or more room air conditioners, a package system, or the most common option, a split-system A/C or heat pump (which has the advantage of providing both cooling and heating). To cool an entire a home, your best bet is a split-system A/C or heat pump. Choose an established brand with a reputation for quality and durability. Discuss your options with a trustworthy HVAC contractor, though online research is always a good idea, too.

Cooling efficiency — The amount of cooling produced (or more accurately, heat removed) for the energy that’s input into an A/C is measured by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). Higher SEER numbers denote higher efficiency, meaning lower energy bills. However, that higher efficiency comes with a higher price. Discuss with your HVAC contractor whether our relatively cool Northwestern summers justify paying for a higher-efficiency model.

Paying for maintenance — Annual maintenance is essential if you want your new air conditioner to provide efficient and effective cooling, avoid frequent repairs, and operate for its full expected service life. An effective maintenance contract is a good way to ensure that regular maintenance gets done.

Sizing — Your contractor should commit to taking the time and effort to determine the cooling load of your home, as a preliminary to recommending a certain capacity air conditioner. An A/C that’s too big or too small will end up wasting energy and breaking down more often, while not cooling as evenly as one that’s properly sized.

Advanced features — Your A/C or heat pump will cool more efficiently if it’s equipped with a variable-speed air handler, thermal expansion valve, and multi-stage compressor. Discuss your options with a qualified HVAC contractor.

For help choosing a new air conditioner, for your Portland area home, please contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling.

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