Even though we live in the mountains, no one living on the Front Range will deny that there are some incredibly hot days throughout the summer. On thesesunny days, however much you want to be out in the sun, it’s sometimes best to stay inside and keep cool. That’s where your air conditioner comes in. But what if your home didn’t come with an AC unit? What if it’s been years since it’s been maintained and isn’t working efficiently? It could be time to get a new system. Here are some things to consider as you’re shopping.
There are four types of air conditioning units you can choose from:
- Window Units: These are easy to install and come in a range of affordable prices. They can either be placed in a single- or double-hung window and usually come with a panel that will secure it inside the window. Some models require an additional support on the exterior of your home.
- Freestanding: If you want to cool a single room in your home, these portable air conditioners are easy to move around. Similar to your clothes dryer, these units typically have a vent for exhaust. Freestanding units hold moisture in a reservoir that you will need to empty periodically. Even though these are nice for small spaces, they are often not as efficient as window units.
- Built-in: These are installed into a wall of your home and can be connected to your HVAC system. They are more expensive than wall units and often need to be installed by a professional, but they don’t take up window space and are more airtight.
- Central Air: A popular type in the Fort Collins area, central air requires ductwork to be installed throughout the home to deliver cool air to each room. Even though they are often more efficient, they are more expensive and many older homes don’t have the needed space to install the ducts.
Cooling Power and BTUs
A BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is how you can tell how quickly and effectively the system will cool your home. BTUs can range anywhere from 5,000 to 20,000 and which rating is right for your home will depend on the square footage. Many homeowners who are looking for an air conditioning system in Fort Collins want the strongest unit, but the strongest AC system doesn’t mean it’s the most efficient. A unit that is too small won’t be able to keep your home as cool as you want it to, and one that is too big will continuously need to turn on and off, resulting in a waste of energy. Get in touch with Ace Hi Plumbing for a recommendation on an AC unit that is right for your home. Consider certain characteristics of your home when choosing an air conditioner:
- Ceiling height
- Room insulation
- Sun exposure
- Location of the rooms (kitchen vs. the living room, for example)
- The Fort Collins climate
The SEER Rating
The SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) guide was established by the U.S. Department of Energy to ensure AC units have a minimum efficiency standard and will tell you how efficient the AC unit is. The higher the rating, the more efficient the unit will be. As newer models have been manufactured, the SEER has been increasing. Models made after January 2006 must have at least a 13, but they can get up to a 20. To get a higher rating, there are certain features that the unit must have:
- Large coils
- A high temperature rating
- A variable-speed blower
- A fan-only switch
- An automatic delay fan switch
- A filter indicator light
Before the real heat of the summer sets in, make sure your home is equipped with an air conditioning system to reliably keep your home, and your family, cool. If your home already has a unit, get in touch with the experts at Ace Hi Plumbing about air conditioning maintenance. The last thing we want is for you to be without a cool home.