Did you feel the heat last summer? 2018 turned out to be one of the hottest years on record in North America, and there’s no relief in sight. Summer temperatures are on a continued upward trend, and that means more sweltering days lie ahead.
That may mean it’s time for a new air conditioner. If the heat got to you last summer, now is a great time to get prepared by doing your research into new air conditioners.
First, there are several types of air conditioners you may want to consider:
- Central air conditioning systems
- Window-mounted AC units
- Portable air conditioners
- Ductless split air conditioners
An HVAC technician can help you decide which one is best for your home, but you can also check out important information about AC units before you make a call.
One thing to consider before you buy a new air conditioner is where you’re going to put it.
Where should you install your air conditioner?
With a central air conditioning system, the cooling part of the air conditioner will operate alongside your furnace system, using the same ducts and vents as your heating in the winter. But you need to install a condenser unit somewhere outside. That’s the unit that exhausts all that old, hot air and gets it out of your home. A condenser needs to be installed about 12 inches from any object and away from areas with heavy foot traffic (since it will be pumping out hot air). It should also be on an elevated pad, so that heavy rainfall and snowfall doesn’t interfere.
As for window-mounted AC units, your options will be limited, but in a house, try to find a window that doesn’t see much use, but occupies a fairly central area that will help it distribute cool air. In an apartment, your decision may have been made for you; just make sure you get a unit that can cool the entire apartment, as you likely won’t have space for multiple units.
Wall-mounted ductless AC systems give you a lot of flexibility when it comes to location, as they have multiple indoor air handlers. These handlers are located in different rooms, allowing you to control temperatures on a room-by-room basis. You should locate ductless air handlers:
- 7 feet above the floor
- 6 inches below the ceiling
- Where the wall is sturdy enough to support the unit for several years
- Away from sunlight and heat sources like ovens
- At least 3 feet away from cables, Wifi modems, and electronics
Another factor to consider before you make your purchase is how powerful the AC unit is, and how much square footage it can over. Here is a general guide to BTUs per square footage:
400-450 square feet: 10,000 BTUs per hour
450-550 square feet: 12,000 BTUs per hour
550-700 square feet: 14,000 BTUs per hour
700-1000 square feet: 18,000 BTUs per hour
Above 1000 square feet, you’re looking in the 20,000 to 30,000 BTUs per hour range.
Find the right air conditioner for your home. Start your research now and get ready to install a new AC in the spring.
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