The average air conditioning unit may last anywhere from 12 to 15 years. However, the lifespan of any given unit will depend on how much use it gets, how well it’s maintained, and how precisely it’s installed. (Improperly sized units die much sooner due to short cycling.) If your current unit is at the end of its life, it’s time to seek some guidance on choosing an air conditioning unit. There are many factors to consider, such as your goals for energy efficiency, the size of your home, and your preferred features.
Choosing an Air Conditioning Unit: Considering Energy Efficiency
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing an air conditioning unit to consider is its energy efficiency. Always look for the Energy Star label. On average, these units are about 15% more energy efficient than non-Energy Star products. One rating to check is the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). The higher the SEER rating, the better the energy efficiency is.
In Arizona, it’s legally mandated that all new AC units have a SEER of at least 15 if they are under 45,000 Btu/hour or at least 14.5 if they are over that threshold. However, if you’re willing to spend more upfront , you can get a higher SEER rating for even greater energy efficiency. You’ll enjoy lower electric bills over the lifetime of the machine (as long as you continue to schedule regular maintenance visits).
Another rating to check is the energy efficiency ratio (EER). The EER is determined by dividing the Btu rating by the wattage. In the hot desert climate, it’s considered a must-have to get an AC with an EER greater than 11.6.
Choosing an Air Conditioning Unit: Evaluating Warranties
It’s typical for a new AC unit to come with a manufacturer warranty. Most brands and models come with a 5-year or 10-year limited warranty. If you’re willing to spend more, you can get an extended warranty term. Some manufacturers even offer a limited lifetime warranty. Before deciding whether to purchase additional coverage, you should check whether the extended warranty covers just parts or just labor, or both.
You should also bear in mind that some warranties will cover specific parts for specific lengths of time. For example, you might get a 10-year warranty on the compressor. Always know the terms and conditions of any warranty coverage you purchase. Note also that making a mistake may void the warranty. For example, you may need to register it within a certain period of time or only hire a certified contractor to service it.
Choosing an Air Conditioning Unit: Checking Out Different Features
Beyond the basics like energy efficiency, there are a lot of other factors to consider when choosing an AC unit. AC units have different features. You may want to look for a unit that offers extremely quiet operation, especially if you have a new baby in the house or you enjoy entertaining guests. You might also consider looking for a unit with a fan-only switch. This enables you to control your nighttime heating costs by switching to ventilation only.
It’s also helpful to choose a unit with a filter check light. This will turn on after a certain number of hours in operation. It reminds you to clean or change the filter, which will allow the unit to run as efficiently as possible.
Choosing an Air Conditioning Unit: Considering Solar Power
If you’re tired of seeing high electric bills every summer, think about going solar. Intelligent Design is proud to offer the SunTrac hybrid climate system for residential and commercial clients! It’s a solar panel system that delivers free power directly to your home’s HVAC system.
Choosing an Air Conditioning Unit: Scheduling a Free Estimate
These days, people are accustomed to shopping online for just about everything—from cars to baby pacifiers. But choosing an air conditioning unit really isn’t something that can be done online. The HVAC technician needs to measure the home to determine the ideal size and capacity for the new system. Furthermore, at Intelligent Design, we take the time to sit down with the homeowners to get a sense of your lifestyle preferences, efficiency goals, and budget. We’ll also consider how long you plan to stay in your current home, as this may affect how much you’re willing to spend on the new system.
Once we determine exactly what you’re looking for, we can make three to four recommendations for brands and models that fit your needs and preferences. At that point, the choice is up to you, although we’re always available to answer your follow-up questions.
You can schedule your free estimate for a new AC unit today with the experienced, certified HVAC technicians at Intelligent Design. Our technicians have an average of 17 years of experience! We’ll address all of your concerns and answer all of your questions about choosing an air conditioning unit for your Southern Arizona home. Intelligent Design serves Tucson and the surrounding areas. You can reach us at (520) 462-1187.