Buyers' Guide to AC Purchases

Whether your existing AC died or you're looking to install your very first unit, you may have some questions as to what to look for in an AC purchase. It can be confusing on which factors to consider and which models are best for your home. Fortunately, we offer you this buyers' guide to AC purchases to make your experience go as smoothly as possible.

AC Usage and Considerations

Two-thirds of all homes in the United States feature air conditioners, which collectively use 5% of all the electricity produced in the United States at a cost of $11 billion to homeowners, says Choosing the right AC is important in order to produce the perfect amount of cooling comfort for your family. Here are some factors to consider when thinking about your next AC purchase:

Noise Level: AC models that score well in noise tests are quiet, with just the sound of the fan running in the background. Others are extremely noisy as they kick on and run, which can be distracting if you're a light sleeper or have small children in the house who are trying to nap.

Location: If you're looking into a window model, you'll have to look closely at the location and direction of cooled air. An AC works best when it blows air to the middle of a room uniformly. If you can't choose a middle window, make sure your model comes with directional vents. If you're investing in a central air conditioner or heat pump, the primary location for the unit will be outside the house. Your HVAC technician can help you determine the best spot for those in conjunction with your ducts and electrical system.

Installation: Improper installation accounts for the #1 problem encountered with homeowners and their ACs. If you're putting in a window unit, ensure it is level for proper drainage. A central air unit should be installed by a professional due to the size, precision and complexity of the job.

Filters: Be sure to ask about where your filters are located, what size you need and how you can best access them. 

Smart controls: You can program your cooling system to sync up with your smart phone, controlling the temperature settings and cycling schedule through the touch of a button remotely.

Warranty: You can save some money on manufacturer warranties if you read the fine print. These also give you peace of mind knowing you have some recourse in the event your unit breaks down prematurely.

Sorting out the BTUs

Air conditioners come with BTU sizing, which will help you determine the size you need for the space you're looking to cool. In general, you'll need about 20 BTUs for every square foot of living space. Measure the room by multiplying the length of the room by the width. You'll also have to factor in other considerations, including ceiling height, intended location of the unit, and how big your windows and doorways are. Keep these tips in mind:

  • If you get a lot of shade in the room to be cooled, reduce capacity by 10%.
    • For sunny rooms, increase it by 10%.
    • If more than two people will occupy the room, add 600 BTUs for each additional person
    • If you plan to place the unit in the kitchen, increase capacity by 4,000 BTU

Contact TDI Air

To maximize your cooling potential, contact us for insight into AC placement, installation and usage. TDI Air offers you an affordable cooling system tune-up that will help you stay cool all summer!