how to compare new air conditioner units

Buying a new air conditioner may not be as straightforward as you think. Once you start shopping around you’ll find that there is a lot of terminology used to describe the size, efficiency and other features of the air conditioner. How do you know what they mean, and which is most important?

Here’s our guide to explain the terms and help you compare new air conditioners.

The SEER Score

The first thing most homeowners want to know is how efficient their new air conditioner will be. The SEER rating, or the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, is the simple way to find that out. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy-efficient the air conditioner will be.

The U.S. Department of Energy regulates SEER ratings. It is a measurement of BTUs, or output, by watt-hours, or energy input. If you have an older air conditioner unit, it probably has a SEER of 9 or 10. Now, by law all new air conditioners sold in the United States need to have a minimum 13 SEER score. A SEER rating may be as high as 21.

Air Conditioner Size

You need to choose the right sized air conditioner for your home. Air conditioner size is measured in BTUs, or British Thermal Units. A larger air conditioner isn’t necessarily better. It will use more energy than a smaller unit, and therefore cost you more in utilities.

An air conditioner that is too small won’t be able to cool your whole space. Plus, it will be over worked and liable to break down quickly. Instead, it’s wisest to choose the air conditioner that is just the right size for your home. Generally, you need 25 BTU per square foot, but other factors may come into play.

Air Conditioner Warranty

There are two warranties you need to compare: the warranty from the air conditioner manufacturer and the warranty from the HVAC technician who performs your installation. When comparing warranties consider the following:

  • How long is the warranty?
  • Are parts included, and which parts?
  • Is labor included?
  • Do you have to register the warranty?
  • Is the warranty transferable?
  • Under what circumstances will the warranty not apply?

Air Conditioner Sound

Some people find that their air conditioner is loud, particularly if it sits in or just outside of a window. If you’ve had problems with your air conditioner being too loud, you should compare the sound rating on your air conditioner options.

Sound is measured in decibels or dB. The loudest air conditioners will be in the low 70s. The quietest are in the 60-50 range. Note that the sound rating usually describes how loud the air conditioner will be is you are standing right next to it. It will seem much quieter if there is a wall between you.

Consider Mitsubishi Ductless Air Conditioners

You should also compare different types of air conditioners. There is a new type that may interest you: a ductless air conditioner. Instead of sitting in your window or outside your house, these air conditioners are installed on your wall, in the best spot to circulate cool air throughout your home.

Ductless air conditioners are high-efficiency and quiet. They don’t rely on a forced air system, so they don’t spread allergens throughout your home. If you need multiple ductless air conditioners, they can also be arranged to target the hotter rooms in your home.

Still not sure which air conditioner is right for you? Reach out to us at Irish Heating and Air. We’re happy to offer our expert advice.