Air Conditioners: From Maintenance To Buying New
There is no doubt that staying cool is on the top of most people's minds this time of year, but what if your air conditioner is not working properly, or worse—you don't have one at all. Whether you have an existing unit in need of some upkeep or are in the market for a new one, we have some tips and helpful information for you.Posted — Updated
There is no doubt that staying cool is on the top of most people's minds this time of year, but what if your air conditioner is not working properly, or worse—you don't have one at all. Whether you have an existing unit in need of some upkeep or are in the market for a new one, we have some tips and helpful information for you.
By performing regular maintenance on your air conditioner, you will not only extend the life of the unit, but your home will remain at a comfortable temperature without an uncomfortably high energy bill.
During the off season, if possible, take the unit out of the window and store in a dry location. If you must keep the unit in the window, be sure to cover the part that is exposed to the outside.
If your air conditioner is older than 12–15 years and has ceased to operate properly, it may be time to purchase a new unit.
There are various types of units to choose from: window, mobile, through the wall and central. With each type there are many brands to choose from, factors to consider and additional features available. See our tips below and also visit the various websites for additional information.
When choosing a window unit the most important factor is the size of the room you wish to cool and the number of BTU's of the unit you choose. For a quick guide to the correct size unit follow the guide below.
- 12x12 room - 5,000 BTU unit
- 16x16 room - 7,000 BTU unit
- 20x20 room - 10,000 BTU unit
- 24x24 room - 14,000 BTU unit
In addition to the BTU's, make sure the unit has an EER (Energy Efficient Ratio) of at least 11, an EnergyStar label, air flow, permanent or reusable air filters, timers, various speeds and remote controls. Also consider additional features such as noise—or lack thereof.
When choosing a mobile unit, consider many of the same factors you would with a window unit. These units are ideal for an area in your home that needs either additional cooling or is not usually occupied.
These type of units are typically what you would find in a hotel room and are excellent for an extra large room, apartment with an open plan or a remodeled garage. They can offer the benefit of both heating and cooling, functioning primarily as an extremely large window unit. In addition to considering BTUs, EER, etc, also consider the size (if any) of the existing sleeve. Look for a though the wall unit in standard sizes to fit previous openings.
The rating used to choose a central air unit is called SEER—Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. The higher the SEER the better. The current national efficiency standard for SEER is 13, but that is the absolute minimum. Look for anything over 13, and keep in mind that the higher the SEER rating the more efficient your unit needs to be. Bottom line—purchase an air conditioner with the highest SEER your money can buy.
Copyright 2023 Today's Homeowner. All rights reserved.