Tips for Buying Your Next Air Conditioner



Central air conditioning systems can last from 15 to 20 years. Sticking with an older unit may seem less expensive, but not when it comes to utility bills. When time comes to buy a new air conditioning system, there are 3 things to remember.

First, is your new air conditioning system sized properly?

Sizing your air conditioner is based on both the latent cooling load, which is the humidity of the air, and the sensible cooling load, which is your home’s air temperature.

That’s why we start by measuring floors, ceilings, walls, and windows. We check insulation in the attic, walls, and crawl spaces. We also check for leaky, disconnected, or crushed ducts, or ducts that are too small for the system and constrict airflow. All this data is necessary to calculate proper sizing. A properly sized air conditioner can maintain a 20 degree difference between the outside and inside temperature of your home.

But, did you know that most of the cooling process is actually dehumidification? An improperly sized system might cool your home, but leave an uncomfortable, clammy feeling. That’s a breeding ground for allergens and mold. Oversized air conditioners cycle on and off too quickly, using more energy and preventing removal of humidity. Undersized systems, on the other hand, may not be able to reach comfortable temperatures on hot days. And since they have to work too hard, they run up higher electric bills.

Only a correctly sized unit will provide optimal performance, operating life, and energy efficiency.

Now, while AC size is important, so is the location of the condenser.

For optimal performance, the condenser unit should be located in a cool, shaded place, ideally on your home’s north side, out of direct sunlight. It also needs unimpeded airflow, with at least 4 feet of clearance at the top.

It’s also important that the inside coil is located for easy access, so it can be reached for annual cleanings.

Finally, don’t be tempted by the lowest bid.

Use printouts of the cooling load calculations for each air conditioner to directly compare the attributes of each unit. Also, be sure to check the Internet for reviews of each air conditioning company. In particular, keep a close eye out for reviews that include details of what the reviewer’s experience was like months or years after their air conditioner was installed.

Cutting corners on your air conditioner or the installer will cost you more in the long run. Improperly sized or installed air conditioners will run much more efficiently than indicated by their ratings, resulting in higher than necessary energy bills.

When you’re ready for a new air conditioner, call the experts at Gilmore. We offer free consultations, and have the experience and technical expertise necessary to identify and properly install the air conditioner that’s right for your home.