If you are considering buying or upgrading your existing air conditioning system, it helps to understand how they work and what features you may be interested in so that you can go shopping with greater confidence.
Here is a look at some of the important basics that you need to know and what questions to ask or points to consider when making a decision on what to have installed in your home.
Range of systems to choose from
There are different types of air conditioning systems and these vary from stand-alone window units to whole-house zonal systems to give you the greatest level of flexibility in choosing your cooling options.
Forced-air is the system that most people are familiar with and this use a central unit combined with a series of ducts in your house to distribute the air to each individual room.
A ductless air conditioner system could help to reduce your energy costs by as much as 30% as they use an outdoor compressor unit to supply cool air into indoor systems mounted on top of the rooms to be cooled, rather than forcing the air through ducts which is going to result in some air loss along the way.
If you live in a climate which does not require continuous cooling throughout the summer months, you might find that a high-efficiency heat pump could be a better choice, as it could cost less to install and should be more energy-efficient.
Whichever type of system you choose, you will need to factor in maintenance costs and annual servicing.
It is always advisable to get insured technicians to cast their professional eye over your system at least once a year and do some of the regular maintenance tasks in the interim period.
Changing your air filters regularly is very important and when you consider that a dirty air filter forces your system to work harder than it might need to, you can soon appreciate that spending money changing your filters every quarter could actually work out more cost effective than paying a big repair bill when your unit cracks under the strain of operating with contaminants and debris circulating in it.
Energy efficiency rating
Buying an air conditioner unit for your home is not just a short term cash outlay but needs to be viewed as a long term investment.
Check the energy efficiency rating for the model that you are interested in and compare the rating with other units that you may be considering buying.
You will often find that the higher the rating the more efficient they are in terms of delivering lower utility bills through energy savings. It is also likely that the most energy-efficient models you can find may also be amongst the most expensive ones in terms of initial purchase cost.
It is often a good idea to try and look beyond the initial cost and consider that the lower energy bills you get should more than compensate for the higher purchase price.
Getting an understanding of the key features and doing your research should pay off when you end up with an air conditioning unit that delivers cooling comfort and acceptable maintenance and running costs.