So, you’ve decided to purchase a new air conditioner.  Maybe you were forced into the choice because the old unit just wasn’t doing the job, or the repairs were becoming more frequent and more expensive.  Or maybe you just decided your AC was getting up there in age and you want to invest (yes, it is an investment – not an expense) in a new, more efficient model before the old one breaks down.

No matter the reason, you’ll want to consider numerous factors before you make the purchase.  Here are a few important ones.

  1. “You get what you pay for” certainly applies to AC units.  While you must be able to afford the unit you are investing in, you do need to consider all the following factors. 
  1. It all starts with the right size. This is obvious, but critical.  The right sized unit will keep your home comfortable while running efficiently.  If you go cheap and purchase a unit that is too small, it won’t cool your home properly.  Conversely, if you invest in a system that is too big, all you are doing is wasting money.  Size is expressed in terms of British Thermal Units, or BTUs.  The higher the BTU, the greater the capacity.  Your AC contractor will perform a load calculation to determine the appropriate size for your unit.  This calculation considers factors such as:
    1. The size of your home
    2. Orientation (east, west, etc.) which will determine how much sun your house gets
    3. Roof materials
    4. Type and amount of insulation
    5. Location and quality of windows
    6. Number and types of appliances
    7. Climate (how hot and humid it will get) 
  1. Then consider efficiency – the more efficient the better. We call your AC unit an investment because more efficient units will be more expensive but will pay off over time because they will result in lower utility bills.  Efficiency is measured by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER).  Without going into the technical details, the higher the rating, the more efficient the unit.  AC units in Chicago’s North Shore and Northwest suburbs must have a minimal SEER rating of 14, although these ratings do go up to 26. 
  1. What about a Wi-Fi thermostat? If you do not already have a Wi-Fi thermostat, the perfect time to purchase one is when you purchase your new AC.  These thermostats can be controlled remotely by your phone or tablet.  You can program them to preset temperatures based on time and day of the week.  They can also “learn” your habits and adjust the temperature accordingly.  Plus, when you buy the thermostat with the AC, you will know they are compatible. 
  1. You want a warranty that guarantees parts for 5 to 10 years. 
  1. Rebates and credits. Even though cost should not be the overriding factor, there is nothing wrong with checking for rebates and credits offered by local governments, manufacturers, and utility companies. 
  1. Check out the manufacturer. You want to make sure the manufacturer is well respected.  You want the company to be established, so if you ever need replacement parts there will not be a problem.  Plus, if it is established you can be confident it will stand behind the product.  Check out sources such as the Better Business Bureau, look at Google ratings, and ask friends and relatives. 
  1. Also check out the contractor. Two things here: 
    1. Make sure the contractor is reputable. Check with family and friends. Also, check out the Better Business Bureau, Best Pick Reports, and Google ratings.  Some manufacturers will also have a list of high-quality contractors.
    2. Make sure the contractor offers a maintenance plan. In addition to providing discounts on repairs and priority emergency service, this plan should also send you service reminders to keep up with maintenance.  If you don’t keep up with maintenance, it could void your warranty.   .

Ravinia Plumbing, Sewer, Heating & Electric Can Help You with AC Replacement

Ravinia Plumbing’s trained heating and cooling system technicians can help you with the purchase of a new central air conditioning system. We can help you determine the best unit to meet your needs, and then install it.  We also offer a maintenance plan that will ensure maintenance is up to date.  We are proud providers of Carrier products, and we are a 10-time recipient of the Carrier President’s Award, given to contractors who provide exemplary service.

Our customers have relied on us since 1928 (that’s 96 years!) for quality products, knowledgeable technicians, and superior service, including 24/7/365 emergency service. That is why we’ve made a name for ourselves as the most trusted plumbing, sewer, heating and air conditioning, and electrical company in Chicagoland. Contact Ravinia Plumbing today to schedule an appointment.