What To Do Before, During, And After Your Purchase To Make The Most Of Your New Central AC Unit

Posted on: 28 July 2015

Are you planning on buying a new central air conditioning unit? Are you interested in getting the most value and comfort that you can for your money and wondering how you can be proactive in achieving that goal? If so, read on for steps you can take before, during, and after your purchase that will help you make the most of your new central air conditioning unit.

Before You Buy

One huge mistake people make when investing in central air conditioning is estimating the size of the unit they'll need while browsing through their options at their local appliance store. 

Getting a properly sized unit is crucial to the efficiency of its performance. If you buy too small of a unit, it will have to work hard and constantly to try to meet demands, but if you buy too big of a unit, it will cycle on and off far too frequently, thus resulting in unnecessarily high electricity bills.

While many people still swear by outdated rules-of-thumb for air conditioner sizing, it's a bad idea. The process of buying a central air conditioner should never start at a store -- it should start at your house with a trained professional. Call whatever store you're considering purchasing your AC unit from and ask them to send a technician to your home to conduct a cooling load calculation (also referred to as a Manual J calculation). 

During the cooling load calculation, the technician will input a series of information into a software program. Such information will include your house size, your house shape, amount of insulation in your home, number of windows in your home, and your temperature preference. The software will then perform some calculations and suggest the proper size air conditioner for your house.

While Purchasing

Once you get the feedback from your home's cooling load test, it's then safe to check out your buying options. What, exactly, are you looking for in an AC in order to get the most bang for your buck? You're looking for energy efficiency ratings. You want the most energy efficient unit you can find in the size you need for your home. In short, you want a central air unit with a high SEER number.

SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio, and it measures the amount of cooling output a certain quantity of energy can produce. The actual calculations for determining a unit's SEER are quite complicated, but all you need to know is the higher the SEER number, the more efficiently you can expect your unit to work.

All air conditioners on the market today must have a minimum SEER rating of 13, but you can find models that go as high as 23 SEER. Shoot for the largest number your budget will allow and you'll be rewarded with the lowest possible energy costs for that particular sized unit.

After You Buy

Whether you install your new central AC unit yourself or have a professional contractor do the work, it's up to you to keep it in good working order. A dirty filter can quickly diminish both the energy efficiency and the cooling power of your air conditioner. Most AC owners' manuals suggest filters be changed bi-monthly, but you may need to swap yours out more frequently if you live in a dusty region, have pets, or are sensitive to allergens. 

A maintenance tip often overlooked is the protection of outside condenser units. Dogs tend to view these components as they view fire hydrants -- as a convenient spot to relieve themselves. Unfortunately, this can rapidly destroy your AC coil fins and lead to costly repair bills. 

If you have a dog, or even if a dog lives in your neighborhood, it's a good idea to fence off your outside condenser unit.

If you're about to purchase a new central AC unit, make the most of your purchase by knowing what to do before, during, and after you make the buy. Follow the above tips and have your AC serviced regularly to detect any problems in their early stages, and you can rest assured that you're getting the most value and comfort possible for your investment. Visit http://www.homesmartcolorado.com/ to learn more.