With warm summers on the horizon, it’s important to make sure your Benton, Louisiana, home has a good air conditioning system. If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner, there are several things you should research before you make your final decision. Make sure you’re up to date on the latest tech and terminology so you can choose the AC system that’s best for your home and your budget.

Manual J Calculations

Manual J calculations are an industry standard that helps professional HVAC technicians decide how large an air conditioning unit should be to efficiently cool a particular space. Some contractors attempt to use “rule of thumb” calculations, but these aren’t nearly as accurate and they almost will always result in an incorrectly sized system and higher energy costs for the homeowner. Have a professional perform Manual J calculations for your home to determine how large your AC unit should be.

Split Systems vs. Packaged Units

There are two types of air conditioners: split systems and central or packaged units. A split system air conditioner has elements both inside and outside the home. Outdoors, you’ll find a metal cabinet with the compressor and condenser. Inside the home, a second cabinet contains the evaporator. If you have a furnace or heat pump, elements from these systems are typically located inside this indoor cabinet, as well.

A packaged air conditioner features all the elements in a single unit. The compressor, condenser, and evaporator are located in a single cabinet that’s usually located outside on a concrete slab or on your home’s roof. Air supply and return ducts are inside the house, but the rest of the unit is outdoors.

If you currently have a split system or an indoor furnace, your home is already built for an indoor cabinet. If you have the space, a split system is usually the more affordable option. A split system also keeps certain components inside where they’re protected from the elements. You have more configuration and customization options with this type of unit, though it’s critical that you have a professional perform the installation.

Packaged units are easier to install and come with all the elements charged, calibrated, and ready to function at their most efficient. However, a packaged unit leaves electrical motors and controls exposed to the elements. Rust and damage are more common with packaged units. However, if you don’t have an interior cabinet for a split system, this is often the best option.

System Warranties

Read through the available warranties for your top choices carefully, and make sure you understand all the fine print. Some warranties cover only parts of the unit and not the entire installation. Others cover both the unit and the labor needed for repair or replacement. Choose a comprehensive warranty that will cover all your needs.

Efficiency Ratings

Air conditioners are assigned Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratings (SEERs) that help consumers compare units for their cost effectiveness. Whether you’re interested in actively creating a greener home or you just want to cut your operating costs, it’s important to understand the SEER for any air conditioning unit you’re looking at.

The Energy Star label is a great indicator of a high-efficiency system. Split system air conditioners manufactured after January 1, 2015, must have a minimum SEER of 13. Single package air conditioners must have a SEER of 14 or higher. You can even find extremely efficient units with a SEER of 20 or more. The higher your unit’s SEER, the more you’ll pay upfront. However, a system with a high SEER will cost less to operate overall.

Contractor Considerations

Installing a new air conditioner is a complex task. If your unit isn’t installed properly, you’ll pay more for inefficient cooling. Compare several contractors before settling on the right technician for the job. Ask friends and family for references, and don’t settle for the lowest bid if you can’t find solid evidence of their professionalism and experience.

If you’re interested in purchasing a new air conditioning system for your home, contact Pioneer Comfort Systems at 318-795-8000. We can help you choose and install the best AC system for your Louisiana home.

Image provided by Shutterstock