Every central air conditioner should when properly sized cool your home. Certainly not all brands and models are built with the same care and quality components. Because of the vast array of systems that are available we have developed some pointers to aid your choice in Central Air Conditioning Systems.
(1) Two factors will determine the over-all annual cost of operation of your system.
Compare the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratings (SEER) the higher the SEER number the more efficient the system is at cooling your home and [to calculate SEER, ratio of amount of cooling produced (btu) divided by the amount of electricity used (watts) btuh/watth],
Compare also (if available) the circuit amperage required to operate your air-conditioning system. The more amperes the system draws within each SEER rating the more money the system will cost to operate.
Our own calculations suggest that each one SEER level increase will decrease your electrical energy consumption from 7 to 8% (depending on the specific model you choose). A newer furnace model especially one with a variable D/C or ECM motor will further decrease energy consumption and increase SEER levels by as much as 1.5 SEER or a further energy savings of as much as 12% for some models. If your furnace is older it may be wise to consider a new energy efficient model along with your new air conditioner or heat pump.
(2) Compare sound levels. A BEL rating of 8 is 40% louder than a BEL rating of 7.6. Each increase 0.1 BEL or 1 decibel difference is 10% louder. The BEL rating will simply determine how loud the system is. A BEL rating of 8 is equal to a hair dryer on high or a jack hammer at 50 feet away. A rating of 6.8 is equal to a table top fan. The quieter the system is the happier your neighbours, who incidentally do not have air-conditioning, will be. Mind you, you could always refer them to this site and then to our store so they will be comfortable too.
(3) Does the system have a 2-speed outdoor fan or full 2-stage operation? Both systems consume less energy than models with single speed fan in their SEER rating level. How this works is, is that only on the hottest of summer days will the system operate to full electrical load. This saves you operating costs, plus increases your comfort because the system dehumidifies your home better because it runs longer. The difference is that models with only 2-speed fans have a set capacity but use less electrical power because the fan operates on low speed, which uses less power. Two-stage systems actually vary their output capacity cutting electrical consumption in as much as half, and reduce operating sound levels while operating on low. Most 2-stage air conditioners have extended efficiency levels (15 to 21 SEER) and use environmentally friendlier refrigerants (R410a). Two stage models should only be used with new furnaces set up for two stage cooling to receive maximum benefit.
(4) What kind of compressor does the system have? Scroll compressors generally operate more efficiently, burn less hydro, and are quieter than most reciprocating compressors because there are less internal moving parts. But newer reciprocating compressors can be just as good as scroll compressors.
(5) Are matched systems necessary? Matched systems are not necessary, but mismatched systems can not be warranted together and most times will not achieve their maximum efficiency potential. When we at Nottawasaga Mechanical talk of matched systems we mean the indoor coil, outdoor section and the furnace.
(6) Have a good look at a sample built by the manufacturer you are considering, consider the quality of all the components in the air conditioner then choose the system that gives you best value. Name brand components inside the air conditioner box tend to cost a bit more but operate cheaper and tend to last longer. Initially the air conditioner can cost a little more at installation but saving repair costs in the future.
(7) Ask yourself the question, how hard will it be to clean? If you can’t see the fins on the outdoor component, it will be very hard to clean dirt that will collect on these coils. Air conditioners like any other machine do need to be cleaned periodically; dirt build-up reduces efficiency, and increases operating costs.