When it’s time to buy a new air conditioner, you don’t want to set out and pick out the first contractor that you come across on the Internet. Instead, you’re going to want to take your time researching, learn how air conditioners work and find out the questions you’re going to have to ask a contractor to make sure your unit is properly installed.
Studies have shown that more than one half of all air conditioning units in the United States are installed improperly. Most of the time, these units don’t work right because they are oversized. An oversized unit leads to higher utility bills, more noise and a higher start-up cost.
To avoid an improperly installed unit, it’s so important that you learn what to ask and look out for. Before you even have a contractor start a job, here are some things to keep in mind:
Cooling Load Calculations
Always make sure that the contractor gives you a copy of their cooling load calculations. These calculations are useful to know what size air conditioner your home should have. If you don’t understand these numbers, don’t be afraid to ask the contractor for more help. A good contractor is going to take their time measuring the floors, wall, attic and other parts of the home to create this detailed report. If you feel the contractor is rushing through the process, it’s probably best to consider another bid.
Consider an Efficient Unit
By law, newer air conditioners must have a SEER of at least 13 or higher. The higher the rating is going to be, the more you’re going to probably spend. However, don’t be afraid to dish out the extra money because what you’re going to find in the long run is that initial investment will be paid back in energy savings. Remember if you are looking for air conditioning in Las Vegas or another hot climate, your system is going to be running a lot. It’s a good idea to have an efficient unit. Aside from the SEER number, look for the Energy Star label too. Replacing an outdated unit can potentially save you hundreds in annual utility bills.
If you’re installing a new unit, the best place to install one is on the north or east side of the house, out of the direct sunlight. Always make sure that the contractor leaves enough room on all four sides for an adequate airflow, and be sure to keep the area free of any debris, shrubs and trees. Since these units can draw in a lot of air, any obstacle in its path is a disaster waiting to happen.
Purchasing a new unit can easily cost a few thousand dollars. With this kind of investment, it’s best that you set aside a few hours in the day to talk with some contractors, receive multiple bids and ask lots of questions. By doing so, you can be assured that you made the best choice for your home.