How To Choose a Replacement Air Conditioning Unit
Owning a home means embracing the fact that you’ll have to do regular maintenance. It also means preparing for the infrequent occurrences during which you’ll have to replace long-lasting systems or structures, such as your air conditioning unit.
Choosing the right model for your home doesn’t have to be a challenge. Here’s how to select a replacement air conditioning unit when your existing one bites the dust.
Air conditioning units come in various sizes to account for size differences in homes. Before you talk to an expert or start looking at units online, take the time to understand your square footage and any nuances about your home’s design that require consideration.
Purchasing an air conditioning unit that’s too small for your home means that you’ll experience warm spots and have a unit that’s continuously running and trying to keep up. This means your home will not be as comfortable, and the constant running will cost you more on your electric bill. Additionally, this will cause significant wear and tear on your system, shortening the overall lifespan of the new unit.
Conversely, if your new air conditioner is too big, your house will be cool, but the humidity control could become an issue. Again, you’ll be overspending on both electricity and the unit itself.
Consider the brand of your existing air conditioner and the experience you’ve had with it. If your air conditioning unit has lasted for years without any serious problems, it’s well worth considering that style or brand name again. However, it’s important not to limit yourself based on your previous experience. As technology evolves, there are always new options and features coming onto the market, so take some time to see if there are any better options for you.
Not all air conditioners are designed the same. In addition to looking at the manufacturer and brand, you should also consider what type is best for your needs.
Central air conditioners are often the most common choice for residential usage. These units have a compressor outdoors as a standalone unit, which connects via ductwork to the system inside and blows cool air through your home. Some central air units can be installed in your garage or basement rather than outside as well.
If you previously had a central air unit, you’ll likely want to go that route again. However, it’s worth noting that your ducts may need maintenance and upgrades as well, depending on the wear and tear they’ve endured.
Ductless air conditioners, also known as mini-splits, are smaller, more localized wall-mounted units. Rather than depending on ductwork to push air through the walls, these interior units use a fan to blow air through your home. Many of these also offer heat settings, which makes them a preferred investment for modern homeowners. The downside is that cool air isn’t always distributed as effectively as central air conditioners. They are also not as subtle since the units can be bulky and are mounted on the wall.
Ask for recommendations from your friends, family members, and colleagues who have air conditioning units. Determine who they worked with, what units they currently have, the overall costs, and what they recommend based on their experience. Then, read online reviews for local companies to narrow down your options.
Next, reach out to an expert to take a look at the space so that you can schedule a professional air conditioning installation. Your HVAC provider can also provide expert insights and advice based on the size and layout of your home and their experience with various vendors.
It’s not uncommon for an air conditioning expert to recommend changes within your home based on advances in technology and years of acquired knowledge.
Sustainable appliances have come a long way, especially over the past decade. As the average air conditioning unit can last from 10 to 15 years, this likely means that things have changed since your existing unit was installed.
Consider energy-efficient upgrades that will save you money while minimizing your consumption. It might also make sense to switch from a standalone air conditioning unit to a multipurpose heat pump. Take some time to research the options, then discuss with an HVAC professional what the right choice is for you.
With some careful research and communication with a local HVAC specialist, you can choose a suitable replacement air conditioning unit — but how do you know when it’s time?
If you notice your air conditioner isn’t as effective as it once was, it’s likely reaching the end of its lifespan. Call a technician to take a look and determine whether there’s a minor repair issue or something deeper going on. Similarly, if you find yourself calling for repairs every summer, it’s time to replace the unit.
Choose a Replacement Air Conditioning Unit
Another sign that it’s time to upgrade is if your energy bill spikes beyond what’s typical for the hotter months. This cost spike indicates that your machine is working harder than it should. It’s important to note that a power bill increase is natural when you first turn on your air conditioning for the season. You can narrow down whether this is a functionality issue by reviewing last year’s power bill and seeing if your overall consumption is up. Be sure to note any differences in the baseline cost for electricity.
Strange sounds and smells also indicate a serious issue. It’s normal to get a plastic or burning smell when you first turn on your air conditioner for the season, as it likely has dust accumulation. However, that smell should fade within a few minutes. Concerning sounds include clunks and bangs, as well as short-cycling — when your unit continuously starts to power up and then stops mid-cycle.
Finally, if your unit is more than 10 years old, it’s time to start thinking about a replacement. While you may get a few more summers out of the system, there will be a tipping point when it costs you more to maintain than it will upgrade.
Use this guide to find the right air conditioning unit to keep your home cool and comfortable all summer long.
Thank you for reading!