When it comes to air conditioners, bigger isn’t always better. You want an AC unit that can comfortably handle cooling your entire space on the hottest days, but also small enough that it doesn’t waste energy and actually become less efficient when cooling your home. AC units are more efficient when they run for longer periods of time. It cools your space more evenly and uses less energy (a difference you will see on your utility bills!) since it won’t cycle on and off frequently.
Your AC also helps dehumidify your home. When the unit doesn’t run for long enough, your AC doesn’t have the time to effectively remove humidity. So, when the humidity is high, you’ll feel less comfortable and maybe even turn your thermostat down a few degrees, using more energy and costing you more money.
There are more financial benefits of a correctly sized unit. Not only do larger units cost more initially, but the constant on and off cycling of a oversized unit will put unnecessary wear on your unit, leading to more repairs or even a shorter life for your unit.
If you do your research, you can find websites to help you calculate your unit size based on your square footage and other factors. However, most HVAC guys will be able to do this for you. And since most companies offer free installation estimates, you can get several recommendations before making a decision.
This stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and is the efficiency rating given by the U.S. Department of Energy. New standards require a 14 SEER rating or higher in Maryland. The higher the rating, the more efficient the unit will be and the less it will cost to operate.
You may also want to consider other energy efficient options on an air conditioning system including large coils, maintenance and filter reminder indicators, or a unit with the high temperature rating (EER) above 11.6 with a thermal expansion valve.
Almost as important as the choice of the unit itself, is how it is installed. Poor installation can mean less efficiency, more noise, safety concerns and unnecessary service calls in the future. So it’s always wise to choose a HVAC installer that guarantees their work.
One thing often overlooked when purchasing a HVAC installation is the care it requires after. We recommend that you view yearly maintenance like car maintenance. Sure, you can put off changing your oil until absolutely necessary or until you experience a problem, but having it done regularly usually means longer life for your engine and less breakdowns in the meantime. It’s the same principle for AC maintenance. Since some companies offer a maintenance plan for a limited time with their installation, you can save money and protect your investment at the same time.
A knowledgeable HVAC company will be able to tell you what brands and models carry the best warranties as well as be able take care any repairs after the installation (should you need any). Most manufacturers offer warranty protection on their equipment, but also check to see if your HVAC installer offers additional warranties options for parts, equipment and labor.