A Quick Guide to Choosing an AC Unit

During the winter, all you can think about is when the weather will pick up and get warmer. But when the summer hits, we wish for just a little bit of that cool air we hated just a few months ago. Luckily, we can harness some glorious cold air with an air conditioner. However, if your home doesn’t have an air conditioning system or you need to replace the one you have, they can be very confusing. All you know is that you want your home to be cooler when it’s too hot outside to move. Choosing an air conditioner doesn’t have to be difficult when you know what to look for. Consider the type, size, energy efficiency and safety rating, and you’ll soon be able to narrow down your needs.

Air Conditioner Type

There are a few different air conditioner types to consider. One of the most popular is window units because they’re easy to install. They’re also more affordable than other unit types. Some window units double as heaters and you can usually fit them on single- or double-hung windows. You can install a window unit yourself if you don’t mind doing a bit of DIY. Another option is portable or freestanding units, which you can move to cool a specific area of your home. If you don’t want to have to install anything, portable units are ideal. They come with large flexible hoses that you attach to a window for venting the hot air outside. You can also have a built-in unit installed, using Guelph Heating and Cooling or a similar service. These units are more expensive, but they don’t take up window space, and they allow for a more secure fit.

What Size?

It’s important to choose the correct size air conditioning unit for the room you want to cool. You should work out the square footage of the space you need to cool. The cooling ability of air conditioners is measured in British thermal units (BTUs) per hour. For example, 100 to 300 square feet of space requires between 5,000 and 7,000 BTU. You can also add extra BTUs for the location of your unit. For example, in a sunny location you can add 10 BTUs.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is important to many people when they’re buying an air conditioner. You should look for the Energy Star rating on your air conditioning unit. Try Energy Star’s list of Most Efficient 2014 air conditioners and heat pumps to guide you in the right direction if you’re unsure.

Safety Rating

If you buy a new air conditioner, it should have an excellent safety rating. There are also things to consider when installing your unit. Firstly, air conditioning units are heavy and bulky, so be careful when you handle them. You also need to make sure you meet all the electrical requirements when you install your unit. You need to satisfy the voltage requirements and ensure that the required number of amps are available in the electrical circuit.

Images by Pete, Steven Vance

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