Prices of central air conditioning units depend on various factors and not all air conditioners are created equally. When pricing an A.C. unit, be informed as to what features will increase or decrease the cost.
An air conditioner’s efficiency rating, its size, its outdoor sound rating and the time required for professional installation all play a role in the final price. There are some things homeowners can become aware of to help them determine and appreciate the variance in air conditioning unit costs.
What Any Homeowner Should Know:
SEER means Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The higher the ratio, the more energy efficient the unit will be. Higher energy efficiency equates to higher cost; however, the plus side is the higher-efficiency air conditioning units are kinder to the environment and save money on the electric bill. The higher cost, initially, will pay for itself, in the long run, with utility savings. Buyers should, ideally, choose a unit with a SEER rating of 14.5 or higher. This rating should be even higher for homes in hotter climates.
The lower the Bel rating, the higher the price of the unit. A Bel rating is equivalent to the sound rating; and the sound rating has to do with noise pollution. Some A.C. units are much quieter than others and a sound rating, or Bel rating, of 7.6 or lower is what one should look for.
There is no sense in purchasing an A.C. unit whose output would provide more than your home requires; and conversely, a unit that is too small for your home wouldn’t have the capacity to meet your home’s needs.
By contacting an air conditioning contractor, you can have your home professionally analyzed to determine its cooling needs through the use of a specialized sizing method. A ‘custom fit’ evaluation would determine the central air conditioning size that would best suit your environment.
If you want to do a bit of figuring on your own, look for a one ton (12,000 BTU’s) cooling capacity for every 500 square feet of living space. In addition, the type of insulation in your home as well as climate expectations and sun exposure should all be factored into which unit is the most appropriate.
For contractors, time is money. By knowing exactly what would be involved with installation procedures, one can avoid any surprises.
Aside from simply installing the unit, one should follow the recommendation of having the unit rest on a cement slab or frame to prevent shifting and debris accumulation. Obviously, the more time devoted for preparation and installation, the more out-of-pocket cost.
Sometimes, the A.C. unit’s cost will include a warranty. This would be an added charge you may not, necessarily, wish to pay for. If you do want the warranty, know the restrictions. It may or may not be worth the additional expense.
Know before you buy; and stay cool!
Miss Carlson is a retired teacher who loves to write on a variety of topics in her spare time. She writes on various home improvement related topics like ac repair. If you would like more information about air conditioning units, check out Metro Air and Refrigeration Services.