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How to Choose Residential Air Conditioning Units

Factors That Matter Most When Buying an Air Conditioner

Choosing the best residential air conditioning unit can be a hard task if one doesn’t know which factors matter most. Here is what to keep in mind.

Buying a residential air conditioner isn’t an exotic activity anymore. Residential air conditioners are cheaper than decades ago and now they are affordable for almost every household. Still, this doesn’t mean that when one wants to buy an air conditioning unit, he or she should get the first unit available. Choosing the right type of an air conditioning system is important because if the choice is not done properly, even the most advanced (and expensive) air conditioner will not be the perfect solution.

Have a Qualified Air Conditioning Specialist Visit the Premises

For many people choosing a residential air conditioning unit is a task they can do on their own. It is true that the best approach is to do some research of what is available on the market and pick a few models but in any case the safest choice is to invite a qualified air conditioning specialist to visit the premises and tell his or her opinion which air conditioner to buy.

The advantage of having a qualified air conditioning specialist visit the premises and suggest a model is that he or she is more experienced and knows better which model is best. He or she will consider factors such as the size of the premises to be heated/cooled, their orientation (i.e. south/north), the amount of direct sunlight, the quality (or lack of) isolation if the model you likes offers replacement parts and easy to obtain spares etc. All these factors are very important because all equal, they can dramatically influence the efficiency of the air conditioner.

In any case, unless the selected model is a portable air conditioning unit, the air conditioner has to be mounted and this is definitely a task for a certified technician. This is why it is best to invite the people who will mount the unit and hear their recommendations.

Choose the Type of Air Conditioner to Buy

The qualified air conditioning specialist will most likely recommend two or three models from each type of air conditioning units. He or she might also say if a particular type can’t be used – for instance, if there is no way to mound the outdoor body for a split system, then a split system is not an option and chances are that a portable air conditioner is the only option. In any case, it is best if one has already chosen the type of residential air conditioning unit he or she will buy, so that the expert can confirm (or reject) the choice.

Air Conditioning Parameters to Consider

The choice of the type of an air conditioning unit to buy influences many of its parameters. However, some features are common for almost any type of residential air conditioner. Here are the most important of them:

BTU. BTU, short for British Thermal Units is the most important measure about how powerful the air conditioning unit is. BTU measures the amount of heat the unit can remove per hour. The higher the BTU, the more powerful (and expensive) the unit is. 7,500-9,000 BTU is for a very small room (approx. 40 cubic meters), 10,000 to 14,000 BTU is for a larger room (approx. 75-80 cubic meters), and BTU of over 14,000 is for very large rooms. However, as already mentioned, the size of the room is only one factor. Orientation, isolation, direct sunlight, etc. matter a lot and as a result it is possible that a 10,000 BTU unit is not efficient to cool and/or heat a very small northern room with poor isolation.

Energy Consumption and Other Operational Costs

The cost of the air conditioning unit itself is only a fraction of the costs involved with it. There are many models, which are relatively cheap, but they consume so much electricity that they are a disaster if used frequently. Therefore, it is necessary to have operational and energy costs in mind as well.

Heating and cooling or only cooling. Many air conditioning units can be used both for heating and cooling. However, if the climate is hot all year round, heating might not be a desirable option. The models that can only cool tend to be cheaper, but the difference is not that substantial.

Other Features

These days it is normal for an air conditioner to offer some extras, such as air purification, low noise, or a timer. More or less these are standard features and maybe only the lowest end models don’t offer them but if these features are desirable, the buyer must make sure that the model he or she has chosen has them.

Buying an air conditioning unit is not buying a house but still there are many intricacies to watch for. The task to choose the right type of a residential air conditioning unit is most difficult the first time because once one has had an air conditioner, he or she knows which features are important. In any case, even if the first attempt to buy the perfect air conditioning unit is not successful, one can always correct the mistake by getting rid of the useless air conditioning unit and replacing it with something more suitable.