Tips for Buying a New AC Unit | Ravinia Plumbing
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Buying a New Air Conditioning Unit

Buying a New Air Conditioning Unit

Is it time for you to buy a new air conditioning unit?  Maybe your existing unit is old or you are having some issues with it (https://raviniaplumbing.com/blog/when-to-replace-air-conditioner/).  No matter, if you are thinking about buying a new air conditioner, here are some things to consider.

Use a professional contractor

Buying a new central air conditioner is a major investment, and there are a lot of factors to consider such as size, energy efficiency, etc. So it’s best to use a professional contractor, rather than try to do it yourself. When selecting a contractor, don’t just default to the least expensive one. Consider the following:

  1. Recommendations from friends/relatives.
  2. Ratings from independent sources such as the Better Business Bureau, Best Pick Reports, Angi, etc.
  3. The contractor is properly licensed and carries adequate insurance.
  4. Brands the contractor carries. Many contractors only carry one brand or family of brands. Be comfortable with those brands (see below).
  5. Warranties.
  6. Maintenance plans.

Check out manufacturers

There are many manufacturers, some better than others. Do the same due diligence investigating manufacturers that you would when selecting a contractor, plus include sources such as Consumer Reports. 

Size

Size is the most critical factor in purchasing a central air conditioning system or a heat pump.  Too small and it will not adequately cool your home and, since it must work harder, it may be more prone to breaking down. Too big and you are just wasting energy and money. Your contractor will help you determine the right size by doing a load calculation. The load calculation will consider factors such as:

  • Your home’s age and size
  • Ductwork
  • Your home’s orientation to the sun
  • Roof material
  • Windows
  • Insulation
  • Number of appliances
  • Your area’s climate

This exercise will determine the correct cooling capacity, which is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs).

Energy efficiency

Energy efficiency is measured by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating. The higher the SEER, the more energy-efficient the unit. The minimum SEER rating is 13, and 18 and above is considered high efficiency. While air conditioning units with higher SEER ratings will cost more, you should make that up over time with lower utility bills.  Also, the most efficient units will have an Energy Star rating from the Environmental Protection Agency, making them potentially eligible for credits.

Warranties

Check the manufacturer warranty to understand what is covered, and for how long. Also check the contractor warranty.

Rebates and credits

Check with the contractor about potential utility and/or manufacturer rebates. These can reduce the price significantly.

Contractor maintenance plan

Many contractors offer maintenance plans, and it is advisable to only buy from a contractor that offers one. Annual maintenance is easy to forget, and not properly maintaining your unit could void your warranty. Good contractor maintenance plans will not only send you maintenance reminders, but will also:

  1. Provide discounts from standard prices.
  2. Offer expedited service.
  3. Lengthen warranties.

Contact Ravinia Plumbing, Sewer, Heating & Electric for a New Air Conditioning System

The experienced HVAC technicians at Ravinia Plumbing can help you select and then install the right HVAC system to keep you cool, and then maintain it for as long as you use it. We’ve been in business since 1928, and we’ve made a name for ourselves as one of the most trusted and reliable plumbing, sewer, heating and air conditioning, and electrical companies in Chicagoland. Visit Ravinia Plumbing today to learn more, and to schedule an appointment.

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