#childsafety | DC Homeowners: Important Factors To Choosing An Air Conditioner

In Washington, DC, we know summers here can get downright tropical. So if your central AC unit is nearing the end of its lifespan, consider replacing it before it goes bust.

If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner, there are many factors to consider. A heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) professional can advise as to the best solution for you, but we’ve included general tips and guidelines to know.

Important Factors

When you’re looking to purchase a new AC unit, there are a few important considerations. An HVAC professional can advise as to the best option for your home, but we’ve provided a general breakdown.

  • Size: Central AC units range in size from 1.5 tons to 5 tons. The larger the unit, the more square footage it can cool. The general rule is that every 500 or 600 square feet requires one ton of cooling. However, this can vary based on the age of your home and the contractor.
  • BTUs: BTU stands for British thermal unit. This represents the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of a pound of water by one degree. On average, your AC should provide about 18 BTU capacity per square foot. However, anything in between 14 and 26 BTU capacity is considered acceptable.
  • SEER rating: SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy efficient your machine. The minimum rating today is 13, but the highest rating available on the market today is 24.5. These highly rated units will be more expensive, but you can expect to save on energy costs over time.
  • Cost: Of course, money matters. Central AC units cost between $1,500 and $4,000. Smaller units with lower SEER ratings and BTUs will be on the lower end, with bigger units with higher stats on the more expensive side.

Need a new central air conditioner? Contact an HVAC pro near you.


How To Choose An AC Unit

With those factors in mind, there are a few more things you should look for. It’s best to consult an installation pro in your area, as they’ll have more specific knowledge about your home. In general, these are some things you should look for:

  • Measure the square footage of your home and calculate the tonnage required to cool it.
  • Compare prices on at least three units before choosing. Contact several stores in your area for prices on each.
  • Investigate warranties, maintenance plans, and quality ratings.
  • Check to see if there are any federal tax credits available on your system. Sometimes you can get money back for energy-efficient models.

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