Regardless of your home's setup, choosing the right air conditioner for your home isn't easy. Air conditioning has become a technical industry, making the task of choosing a new unit all the more complicated for consumers. If you choose the wrong air conditioning system, both your cool air and your money will go right out the window.
Most air conditioning manufacturers tout a vast array of models, rebates and special offers. Spend some time researching your home’s needs to make the best decision. Here are the four main factors to consider when comparing air conditioners:1. Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratings (SEER)
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rates air conditioners on a scale of 10 to 16. The higher the SEER value, the more expensive the investment and the lower the utility and repair bills. The lower the SEER value, the lower the initial cost and the shorter the warranties. Air conditioners with low SEER ratings are also much more costly to run.
Air conditioners with a SEER rating lower than 10 are not acceptable in new construction. Be aware that some companies are still pushing 9- and 10-SEER units at bargain prices because they're already obsolete.
A high-quality unit isn’t necessary if you intend to move within a year or two. But, if you expect to live in your home for three years or longer, you might want to go with the higher efficiency unit. An upscale air conditioning unit will allow you to recoup the extra money you spent on the unit in utility and repair savings.
A higher quality air conditioner will contribute to the overall energy efficiency of your home. Even short-term homeowners sometimes purchase a higher-performing unit for its eco-friendly qualities.
The better the unit, the longer the manufacturer is willing to warrant the parts and labor. Some units offer a 10-year parts and labor warranty from the manufacturer. A warranty means that if anything goes wrong with your unit during the next 10 years, the manufacturer will pay to repair it. For a nominal fee, a warranty is even transferable to a new homeowner. Some contractors may offer what seems like a similar warranty. Keep in mind that this kind of warranty is only good with that contractor. That means if the company goes out of business, the warranty is void.4. Choosing a Contractor
Is your contractor willing to explain your options? Is your contractor licensed and insured? What kind of references does this company have? Take the time to research your pro.
If you do your homework and don't let anyone rush you into making a costly decision, buying an air conditioner that will keep you cool for years should be within your grasp.