What to Know Before Buying a Central AC Unit Replacement

By Lyle Weischwill | Apr. 15, 2016 1:24 pm PST

What to Know Before Buying a Central AC Unit Replacement

**A new central AC unit is a big-ticket item. Know these basics before you start getting bids on a replacement air conditioner. **

The lifespan of most HVAC systems is an average of 10 to 14 years, so most homeowners can count on replacing theirs eventually. Before you begin getting bids from contractors, here are some things to know about central AC unit replacement.

Central AC Isn’t One Size Fits All

It might seem like a good idea to get the biggest AC replacement unit you can. But getting ones that is too big, or too small, wastes energy. And don’t assume you need the same size AC unit you have now. Changes you’ve made to your home—like replacing drafty windows, installing new insulation or adding new rooms—change the size of the central air conditioner you need.

To make sure the Central AC unit you buy is sized correctly for your home, have a licensed HVAC technician do a load calculation, which is the industry’s method of determining what size AC unit your home need. The licensed HVAC technicians at Sears Home Services provide free on-site consultations to evaluate your home’s unique cooling needs, no matter where you end up buying the AC unit.

Why Not Buy Direct?

Although buying a new central AC unit directly from an HVAC retailer saves money up front, installing an AC unit isn’t a viable do-it-yourself project for most people; the danger involved in doing it yourself is real and serious.

Efficiency Equals Energy Savings

It’s important to make sure your new central AC unit provides you with the highest possible Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER, which is a measurement of the amount of energy needed to deliver the proper amount of cooling. All models sold in the US are required to have a SEER of at least 13. If you live in a hot, humid climate, it’s especially important to choose a unit with the highest SEER you can afford, because you’ll use it much of the year.

The Importance of the AC Compressor

The most important component, and the most expensive part, of a central AC unit is the compressor, which enables the air conditioner to cool your house. For most homes, it’s best to buy a central AC unit replacement that has a two-stage compressor.

Single-stage compressors only run on high speed, even if the room requires less air to cool it, resulting in higher electric bills. Two-stage compressors cycle from high to low, typically running on low, resulting in consistent temperatures and lower utility bills.

If you’re looking for a replacement of your cooling system, schedule an appointment and a courteous, licensed HVAC technician will [o a free evaluation, so you get the perfect fit for your home.

Get a free in-home consultation

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