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Blog May 28, 2014

The Ultimate AC Buyer’s Guide


Most of the savings you experience from your AC system come when you make the purchase.  And trust us, you can purchase the wrong AC system for your home, even in today’s advanced technological world!

Here’s what to look for if you’re considering purchasing a new one:

Get one with a SEER rating of at least 13.

SEER stands for “seasonal energy efficiency ratio.” The higher the number, the better. At a rating of 15, you balance the cost and efficiency well. Beyond that point, you have diminishing returns, and going above 16 may not save you any additional energy at all.

Strangely enough, an AC system’s capacity is measured in tonnage. One ton of refrigeration equals 2,000 pounds (one ton) of ice melting over a 24-hour period. Your HVAC contractor can help you calculate the correct capacity. The insulation and cubic feet of interior space are a couple factors that affect the type of AC system you get. Getting an AC system much larger than needed actually cools your home much more inefficiently than getting the right size.

Do some simple maintenance to amplify your efficiency.

Don’t use standard duct tape to seal cracks in your ductwork. Use mastic, a gooey pain-like substance, or foil tape. Are your basement walls insulated? If not, they should be.

Consider a heat pump.

They use refrigerant to move heat from one physical space to another. They do not generate heat. Generally, they cost more than regular AC systems, but since they provide both heating and cooling, they can be cost competitive when you factor in the costs of heating and cooling systems together.

If you do install an AC System…

Consumer Reports asked 40,000 people who bought AC systems from 2005-2011 how reliable their AC systems were. The most reliable brands were American Standard, Rheem, Trane, Bryant, Ruud, Carrier, and Lennox. Amana, Goodman, and York all scored significantly lower than these other leading brands.

If you follow these tips when purchasing an AC system, you’re sure to get an efficient, reliable one that doesn’t give you much hassle over the years.

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