Air conditioning systems come in many different varieties and brands and the most common one is the Central Air-conditioning unit which uses your existing ducts.
A central AC unit removes warm air, humidity & uses the the blower on your forced-air gas furnace, electric furnace or airhandler unit (if you have one!) – Here are 4 things to consider before buying a central air conditioner for your home:
1. Quality of installation is very important
A real AC contractor is the biggest factor here. As with any technical product that requires expertise (just like your car), ensure the person you’re hiring actually has experience.
The new normal in the HVAC industry is unqualified handymen & frankly complete amateurs quoting low prices; this is not because they care for you or they want to give you a good deal; it’s because a safe & worthwhile installation takes a long time (high labor cost), durable equipment cost more & long lasting products don’t come cheap; when you get a dirt cheap product from an unqualified installer, fully expect to never hear from that person again after they’ve taken your money.
Your contractor should 1) be NATE, ICC & EPA certified 2) be licensed 3) provide high quality and durable equipment. Otherwise, expect major headaches.
2. Durability of the brand
The market is flooded with cheap Chinese/south-American made units that are made to break within 2-3 years. These brands (which we are happy to name over the phone) have extreme planned obsolescence engineered in them and/or not made properly. These brands are sold to handymen or anyone who walks into the door (which is against EPA rules); they are cheap, unsafe & often use the technology from 20 years ago. Quality matters when what you’re paying for is the air you’re breathing, day in, day out
Here at UniColorado, we only recommend brands we would put in our own house; we would never give you crap to pad our bottom line and leave you, our dear customer, in the dust.
3. Sizing / Efficiency
For optimal cooling, the AC contractor should do a cooling load calculation to determine the specific size of AC system. The cooling load is the amount of cooling the system must produce for efficient comfort.
There are many factors that go into calculating the cooling load, including the size of your home, insulation levels, unconditioned spaces as well as the duct size, airflow capacity and more.
If the installed unit is too large, it will cycle on and off frequently (short-cycling), substantially reducing the efficiency of the AC system. Too large of a system also uses much more electricity than necessary, has a shorter life span and generally louder operations.
If the AC unit is too small, it may not be able to meet the demands of a hot, humid day.
As far as efficiency goes, the question becomes how much is it worth for your specific property. A lot of times, your efficiency gains may be offset by energy loss already present in your house, so an experienced contractor won’t try to upsell you things that won’t work, specifically for you.
Most AC manufacturers offer 10-year warranties but all warranties are not created equal. For the cheap Chinese-made units, the warranty is more or less a joke; it only exists in theory. Since these warranty claims have to be inspected and approved (typical process in the HVAC industry), crappy manufacturers just never approve claims. Easy enough to lie and easy enough to implement for them.
Here at UniColorado, we only offer units that have a REAL warranty; we only install units that we know we can stand behind.
And on a final note…Don’t forget to have your AC maintained!
Yes, it might be early advice, but most AC manufacturers recommend annual maintenance because the systems are complex and require regular tuning & inspections.