We’re entering the dead of the hot Utah summer, and if your air conditioning system is in need of replacement, now is the time. No one wants to be stuck in a hot summer without proper air conditioning, and it’s best to get to this task before demand rises with peak July heat – but what are some of the top air conditioner characteristics you should be considering while you’re searching for an ideal replacement?
At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, we’re here to help. We offer numerous air conditioning installation and AC replacement services throughout Utah, and we’ll help inform you of all the important features and characteristics of the models you’re considering to help you make the right choice for your home. Here are some of the top elements you should be thinking about when selecting a new air conditioner for your home.
Model and Stage Types
First and foremost, you’ll want to consider the model type you’re purchasing. There are three common designations to choose from among today’s AC units:
- Single stage: This refers to an AC model that has just two options: On and off, with nothing in between. The system either is not operating, or is operating at full capacity. There is no option for partial operation.
- Two-stage: This is a model that has additional controls for temperature, typically one mode for high-stage cooling and another for low-stage cooling. It allows for much-improved comfort control over a single-stage model, plus saves energy.
- Variable-speed: This refers to a model with multiple different cooling stages, any of which can be accessed at any time to meet your cooling needs. From a comfort and efficiency perspective, this is the best type of AC model.
Cooling Capacity Measurements
In addition, you should be aware of the measurement type being used to describe your unit’s cooling capacity. There are two units often used here: BTUs (British Thermal Units) and SACCs (Seasonally Adjusted Cooling Capacity), the latter of which was only introduced to the market in the last few years. Most AC units still use BTUs to define their capacity, with a general rule that you need 20-25 BTUs for each square foot of living space you plan to cool.
Now, this is one area where our pros are great resources when you’re selecting a new AC. We can explain exactly how BTUs work and why you need a requisite amount, plus help you with some of the ins and outs of finding the precise BTU rating you need given your space and cooling needs.
Comfort and Humidity Control
While elements like efficiency and others are very important, and we’ll go over each of these in just a bit, it’s also vital that your AC unit keeps you comfortable. For some, this may include the purchase of improved features within the unit – our team is happy to detail some of these features if you’re wondering.
One that deserves specific attention, and is a constant feature across all of today’s air conditioners, is humidity control. All AC units remove some level of humidity from your air as they cool, but advanced models offer specific humidity controls that can extend this theme much further. One desirable element if humidity is a big concern for you is the variable-speed compressor, which we went over above – this offers far better humidity control than other models, including while operating at lower speeds that cost you less money to operate. Variable-speed units also pull more humidity out of the same air than single- or two-stage compressors.
For nearly all new AC units, you will be provided with a manufacturer’s warranty. These are usually roughly similar – most last either one or two years, and they cover both parts and labor. There may be some manufacturers who offer greater warranties, but these also tend to come with increased up-front costs.
One important theme here: Ensuring you never void your warranty if you purchase a given model. There are usually some pretty basic requirements for maintaining your warranty, such as having the unit inspected once a year and repaired if issues come up. Be sure you know these requirements in detail and are never breaking them during the warranty period.
Another important rating to be aware of is SEER rating, or seasonal energy efficiency ratio. The higher this number, the more efficient your unit will be in its daily operations. As you might imagine, units with higher SEER ratings tend to cost more – but they also provide fantastic value and are usually worth this cost.
In addition, some modern units have a specific energy-saving mode. This mode turns off the fan when the compressor turns off, which conserves energy compared to other models, which run the fan continuously even when the compressor is off.
Noise During Operations
Finally, you want to at least consider the noise level your new unit will create, especially if your bedroom, office or any other important area is situated near where the unit will go outside your home. Most modern AC units have multi-stage compressors that operate in virtually complete silence, but single-stage compressors are significantly louder – if you’re going with the latter option here, you should consider a sound blanket that will reduce noise during AC operation, all without interrupting airflow.
For more on the characteristics to look for in a new AC unit, or to learn about any of our heating and air services, speak to the staff at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric today.