Air conditioners can be lifesavers for anyone in a home which exists in an environment that typically gets extreme heat and humidity.
Significant newer homes come with central air conditioning units while older homes require you to purchase window air conditioner units.
But even if you own a new home with central air conditioning, the unit is liable to get worn out after ten years of consistent use.
This means you will need to purchase a new air conditioner for your home. The question is, how do you choose the right air conditioner?
Below we will explore everything you need to know about choosing the right air conditioner for your home or office.
It is important you know this information because if you end up with the wrong air conditioner, then you could find yourself with problems.
You might have an air conditioner with low energy efficiency or cost-effectiveness.
If not that, your air conditioner might not be the right size or type that your home needs. So, pay attention to the details and educate yourself on air conditioners.
Types of Air Conditioners
Like previously mentioned, there are central air conditioners and window/room air conditioners for homes.
Central air conditioner units are connected to a series of supply ducts and return ducts which run throughout the walls, ceiling, and flooring of your home.
The supply ducts are vents which bring cool air into the rooms of your home from the cooling system.
The return ducts bring warm air from the rooms back into the cooling system so it can be recirculated into fresh air again and come out through the supply ducts.
Window air conditioners are cooling units which stick inside the opening of your window.
Each window air conditioner is only good for cooling one room which has a window in it.
This means if you want to cool multiple rooms in a home, then you will need to purchase multiple window air conditioners.
There are also room air conditioners which stand on the floor and circulate the air within the room it is in.
This would be the easiest option, although it is less effective at cooling than the other two.
Choosing the Right Size AC Unit
If you are trying to install a new central air conditioning unit, then you should have a professional contractor determine the proper size that you will need.
If your house is not too old, you could contact its builder or your local zoning department and see if you can get the original planning paperwork for your home.
Either way, you need a licensed contractor to determine the size of your supply ducts and return ducts.
Wait until they give you the proper size specifications and then find an energy management consultant who can connect you with a professional AC unit installer.
If you are choosing a window air conditioner, then you will need to do the measuring on your own.
Just use a tape measure to find out the length and width of the open window where you want your air conditioner unit to go.
In most cases, the height of the unit should be a little bit shorter than the height of the window opening.
This ensures you have enough room and you can always slide the window down to help secure the unit in place.
As for room air conditioners, you may want to measure the dimensions of the room it is going in and see if the unit is powerful enough to cool a room of that size.
Cooling Capacity and BTU
BTU stands for British thermal unit. This refers to the amount of energy which needs to be generated to decrease the temperature of 1 lb. of water by 1°F.
Most residential air conditioning units will have a BTU rating of anywhere from 5,000 to 25,000. The higher the BTU rating, the more room space which can be cooled by the unit.
For example, if you have a 1,500 square foot home and you want central air conditioning for it, then you will need between 20,000 and 25,000 BTUs.
Alternatively, if you want a window air conditioner to cool a room 340 square feet, then you would only need 8,000 BTUs. Your unit needs to provide between 10 and 20 BTUs for every square foot in your room or home.
Energy Efficiency and Cost
The cost of your air conditioning unit will depend on the size of the living space being cooled and the amount of insulation you have in this area.
Remember to check your window and door frames for cracks or leaks which could let air get out of the home.
This will rack up your electric bill tremendously. Then, of course, the type of air conditioner you are using will influence the cost too.
A window air conditioner will likely be 2 to 6 kilowatts. Including the unit and installation, you are looking at the cost of between $1,500 to $3,000.
But if you are going with a central air conditioner 9 kilowatts or more, then the unit and installation will cost you between $5,000 and $10,000 on average.
For bigger homes with four bedrooms and over 2,000 square feet of living space, you can expect to pay more than $20,000 for the unit installation.
To estimate your costs efficiently, you need to measure your rooms and living space to determine how much you will need to keep cool.
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