Buying a New Air Conditioner

Two very important things to consider when buying a new air conditioner include hiring a contractor and getting an Energy Star Quality Installation.  Energy Star heating and air conditioning units typically cost more, but the cost difference is quickly absorbed by energy savings. 

Here are some tips for hiring a heating and cooling contractor to install your new air conditioner:

Research different companies, verify their license and insurance meets requirements in your state.  Make sure the contractor carries Energy Star products

Get referrals from friends, neighbors or co-workers

Shop for specials, discounts, income tax incentives and rebate offers available on Energy Star AC and heating equipment

Get a compete evaluation before choosing a new air conditioner.  The heating and cooling contractor should be willing to spend significant time inspecting the current unit, duct work, home specifications, etc…to be sure the system installed is the right size for the area being heated and cooled.

Get written estimates and warranty information and make sure you understand the details.  When comparing bids, consider not only the total cost, but the value of the product, energy-efficiency, guarantee and the overall impression of the contractor.  Is he friendly or rude?  Did he track mud through the home?  Did he listen to your concerns and answer you questions? 

What is Energy Star Quality Installation?

Components of a quality installation include:

Proper size – Bigger is not always better.  It is critical to install the proper size equipment for the home to get the best performance.  A heating and cooling system operates best when each component is properly sized.  An oversized unit may cycle too frequently which will reduce energy efficiency, comfort in the home and the life of the equipment.   The service technician must take measurements of the home to determine the appropriate size for an air conditioner, furnace or heat pump.

Duct sealing – Damaged ducts with poor connections are less efficient in circulating air from the furnace or air conditioner throughout the home.  An Energy Star Quality Installation requires the contractor measure duct leakage and make necessary repairs to minimize loss.

Ai flow analysis – Energy Star Quality Installation includes an air flow analysis to ensure the proper volume of air flow.  Too high or too low can resulting less comfort and increased energy bills.

Proper refrigerant charge – This is applicable to central air conditioners and heat pumps.  It is important to have the correct amount of refrigerant, or correct refrigerant charge for efficient cooling and dehumidification.

A heating and cooling system is one of most expensive purchases a homeowner can make.  Buying the right system and having it installed by the right contractor will make a big difference in cost versus value, which is the bottom line when making any large purchase.  Most important, be sure to read the service manual and know how to care for the system.  Read HVAC Maintenance Checklist to learn more.

Appliance Parts Today opened in March of 2003, specializing in assisting the DIY appliance repair customer.  While many air conditioning parts suppliers will only do business with licensed contractors, Appliance Parts Today is happy to assist the general public.  The local AC parts store carries a complete line of Goodman air conditioning parts and their friendly staff is happy to provide technical advice when needed.