The warmer months are almost here and your home is going to heat up rapidly. The thought of even looking at and considering a new air conditioner for your home is enough to put you into a sweating state considering the various options. After all, how do you know which home air conditioning system to purchase and how it is going to impact your energy costs? Don’t worry, we have compiled the research for you to help you make a well-informed decision.
The primary factor in getting both comfort and savings is finding the optimal unit for your space. After all, an air conditioner that doesn’t offer sufficient cooling for your room capacity is not going to effectively cool your home and it could end up driving up your energy costs. A system that is far too powerful is going to work much too quickly and it will likely shut off prior to removing enough humidity which can leave your place feeling cool but very clammy. Likewise, constantly cycling your system on and off all of the time is likely to shorten the lifespan of the system.
The energy efficiency of your system is another factor that must be considered. The overall energy efficiency ratio of your cooling system dictates how well it is capable of operating when the temperature outside reaches 95 degrees. Therefore, you should be actively looking for a system that features an Energy Star label which indicates that it has been proven to be more efficient than the government standards set forth. However, it’s important to remember that no matter how efficient your system is, you won’t get the most value nor be as comfortable as you want to be if your home doesn’t have sufficient insulation and sealing.
With that being said, below we will be discussing some guidelines that will guide you towards pinpointing the right air conditioner for your home.
This is the most popular type of cooling system you will find in the USA for a good reason. In fact, over 75 percent of all households that have a cooling system features this type of system according to the United States Energy Information Administration.
However, the big city of New York is one of the biggest outliers. The main reason has to do with the buildings being older than most larger American cities with over 3/4’s of the buildings being constructed prior to 1960. In other words, before this type of cooling system even became popular. Being able to retrofit something like an older apartment with this type of system means having to install a condenser outside of the apartment, a fan, and a coil system inside of it, and ducts directly to distribute the cooled air. This is something that is doable, but it’s certainly not cheap and it requires a good amount of space which is something that is severely lacking in a lot of city apartments found in The Big Apple.
Even if you make the decision to give up closet space in order to install one of these systems, your building might not even allow you to place a condenser on the roof which is needed. Retrofitting an apartment that is built without ductwork pre-installed can be very expensive. The best-case scenario of being able to install the system without needing to run pipe through the neighbor’s kitchen ceiling in order to reach your compressor will cost on average anywhere from $2,650 to a whopping $15,000 according to TrustedPros.ca.
Another big factor to consider is the fact that a lot of these systems don’t feature individual room control. Therefore, if you want to cool a specific room at a specific time, you will need to cool everything which is inefficient. That being said, it is the most discrete option since everything is hidden within the walls.
If you happen to make the choice to install this system, you want to check out Consumer Report’s guide to buying one for both brand reliability and the efficiency rating of it.
You want to hire a professional installer who is capable of working with you to formulate a comprehensive plan on how to situate your ductwork and to properly insulate that ductwork. Likewise, you should be budgeting for routine seasonal maintenance in order to swap out the filter, clean the soils, and perform other necessary maintenance in order to ensure the system is functioning optimally.
The bottom line: If your property has the requisite space for ductwork, central air can be one of the best ways to quietly and conveniently maximize cooling in your home.
A DUCTLESS MINI-SPLIT AIR-CONDITIONER
A ductless mini-split system is likely to be the best option available to you if you don’t have the room for central air. After all, it can be mounted conveniently on a wall and fully operated remotely. These systems do happen to require an outdoor compressor, but there are no worries about needing bulky ductwork. The refrigerant gets circulated by the tubing that is directly connected to both the indoor and outdoor units.
While not even close to being as discreet as a central air system, these ductless systems are very efficient because each unit can be independently controlled. These systems are fully capable of providing sufficient heating. The total cost of effectively outfitting a 2,000 square home can range from as little as $1,800 to as much as $7,000. Ultimately, if you need more wall units, you can expect to pay more. Like you would with central air, budgeting for a professional installer is necessary and you want to include the respective costs associated with annual maintenance checks.
These units are affordable and very easy to install. Because of this, they are one of the most popular options for those looking for individual room cooling. These start at as low as $129 for a smaller designed unit that is capable of cooling a 150-square-foot room and they can range up to $599 for a larger style unit that is designed to effectively cool a 1,600 square-foot-room according to Lowe’s.
In order to understand what size you will require, you should measure the room that you are in need of cooling and calculate how much total square footage it has. Then, you can use it and compare it with the recommended cooling capacity that is typically measured in British Thermal Units per hour (BTUs) at Energystar.gov.
You want to account for any sun exposure your room gets throughout the day and how the room is typically used. After all, if the room is always shaded, the Energy Star chart recommends you reduce the heating capacity needed by 10 percent. Likewise, if more people are using the room at the same time, you want to add around 600 BTUs for each added person. In a place like a kitchen, you want to increase the BTU capacity by 4,000 to account for the appliances.