How To Choose A Residential AC System

Posted on: 7 June 2019

Residential air conditioning is one of the best conveniences modern life offers. Choosing the right system for your home, though, can leave your head spinning. What do all those rating stickers even mean? Are you buying too little or too much capacity for your house? Here are some pointers for cutting through all the industry jargon when you speak with the folks at a residential air conditioning services company.

What Ratings Actually Matter?

There are two figures your eye should move straight toward when scanning formation about any AC unit. First, you want to check out the BTU rating as this gives you a sense of the system's output. Second, you want to look for the SEER rating as this gives you an idea of how energy efficient the unit is going to be.

Making all this slightly more confusing is that AC output is sometimes measured in tons. If you see tonnage instead of BTUs, don't shy away. The math is simple in that one ton of output equals 12,000 BTUs.

Okay, that's great, but what does a BTU mean to you? Roughly speaking, 12,000 BTUs of output is sufficient to cool between 450 and 500 square feet of living space.

SEER ratings are required to be a minimum of 13, and anything between 15 and 18 is okay. If you're looking to maximize energy efficiency, shoot for a rating in the mid-20s. Every two points of SEER, though, are apt to cost you an additional $1,500 to $2,500.

Central Air vs. Split Ductless

Central air systems typically have one component in the house that handles cooling the interior and a second component outside of the house that takes heat away. Placement of this second component, the condenser, is a big deal. You need somewhere on your property that is flat and open. Likewise, you want it to be shaded but not close to any trees to ensure peak efficiency. Central air is desirable in northern regions because it can be integrated with heating units, especially heat pumps.

Split ductless systems have registers for separate parts of a house. They are mounted high on walls, and the conduit brings electricity and refrigerant to the register. The conduit also carries away condensation. A major advantage of this approach is that it allows computer-controlled temperatures to be set for every room it's installed in. On the downside, the additional components may increase installation times and costs.

When determining what type of residential air conditioning system to get, keep these tips in mind and consult with a AC professional.