Six Tips for Buying a New Air Conditioner

Is your central air conditioner not cooling your house the way is used to? Are your utility costs going up even though you are using your AC the same? Funny smells or noises? These, in addition to old age (15+ years) are all warning signs that your AC system is about to go. Rather than wait until the AC fails on a scorching summer day, you might want to consider looking into a new system now. Here are six tips.

  1. Get the right size

The most important thing is getting the right size new AC unit for your home. Too small, and your air conditioning unit won’t be efficient. Too big, in addition to being more expensive to purchase, the system will cycle on and off repeatedly and cost you even more money AND it will not properly dehumidify and/or cool your home. Air conditioning cooling capacity is measured in British Thermal Units, or BTUs. Your professional HVAC contractor will do a load calculation to determine what sized AC unit is right for you. This calculation not only factors the size of your home, but also things like climate, roof material, insulation, windows, appliances and directional orientation (east, west, etc.).

2. Efficiency (SEER Rating)

The second thing to consider is the level of efficiency. Efficiency is measured by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). SEER measures the cooling output compared with the energy use during the warm months of the year. Air conditioners in Chicago’s North Shore and Northwest suburbs must have a SEER of at least 14. SEER ratings go as high as 26.

In general, the higher the SEER the more energy efficient the unit is. Even though more efficient air conditioning units will cost more initially, over time that additional cost should be offset by lower utility costs.

3. Reputable brand

Make sure you buy a reputable brand. If something goes wrong, you’ll want to be confident that you can get parts for years to come. Check out sources such as the Better Business Bureau or Angi or even Google ratings for more information. And of course, ask friends and family about the unit they have.

4. Warranties

Before you purchase a new air conditioning system, make sure you check the warranty.  You will want a warranty that guarantees parts for 5 or 10 years.

5. Rebates and credits

Local governments, utility companies and manufacturers offer an array of credits and rebates. These may be higher for more efficient units. Make sure you check that out before buying a new air conditioning unit.

6. Trusted contractor

Buy from a contractor you can trust. In addition to talking with family and friends, you can check out the Better Business Bureau, Angi and Best Pick’s. Some manufacturers also provide a listing of contractors that offer exemplary service.  Also, make sure your contractor offers a maintenance plan. These plans are essential to make sure your unit is serviced regularly. Failure to do so could invalidate the 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 are proud providers of Carrier products, and we are a nine-time recipient of the Carrier President’s Award, given to contractors who provide exemplary service. We’ve been in business since 1928 (that’s 95 years!), and we’ve made a name for ourselves as one of the most trusted and reliable HVAC, plumbing, drain and sewer and electrical companies in Chicagoland. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.