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  • Writer's pictureJustin Leach

"Spring" for a New AC

Summer is near, and now is the time to beat the rush and buy an AC. If you’re not willing to survive another summer without AC, or your AC is nearing its life expectancy, Spring is a great time to purchase a new AC before the heat of summer.

Buying a new AC is certainly an investment, and with all investments you want to do your research and buy at the right price. Unfortunately, we see countless folks that try to risk another season and instead get stuck in the sweltering heat of summer with a broken AC. This typically results in panicked buying because the customer need the AC immediately and doesn’t have the time to search around for the right product, service, and price. I can’t tell you how many people we run in to that have gotten into that situation, and were taken advantage of by huge HVAC companies salivating over your situation.

Because of this, now is the perfect time to get into the market to buy an AC.

Considerations when buying a new AC:

Cost: This is an obvious comparison metric, and probably the easiest to assess. However, be very careful to make sure that the price given in the quote is the price that you’re going to pay. Any changes to the price should be discussed with homeowner and agreed upon. We see countless individuals that get taken advantage of by big companies because they weren’t aware of silly fees companies tack on such as disposal fees, travel fees, refrigerant fees, etc. Make sure the price is the price you’re going to pay at the end.

Efficiency: New AC efficiency is measured in “SEER Rating”. The SEER rating stands for the “seasonal energy efficiency ratio”. Basically, it is how much electricity is used to cool your home. To give you some perspective, most old ACs have a SEER rating around 10, and the base level SEER rating we install today is a 13 SEER. However, we have units that go all the way up to 21 SEER. Most energy providers also offer rebates on new AC products for SEER ratings of 16 or higher.

**The data in this graph is based on a 10 SEER existing unit. SEER ratings do not guarantee these savings, but they give you a good idea of where your energy savings should approximate.**

Size: New AC sizing uses “Tonnage” or “Tons” to determine how large an AC is. This may sounds strange, but it actually dates back to when people were transitioning from using ice to cool things. They would say that the new AC system was equivalent to X tons of ice. BTU’s (British Thermal Units) are another way to measure cooling size—This is what most foreign countries utilize. 1 Ton of Cooling is equivalent to 12,000 BTUs. For sizing your AC, there a bunch of factors that are involved calculating the size required for your new AC. These include area of the space, air volume of the space, windows and sun radiation the space is exposed to, age of the home, etc. A rough idea is approximately 700-800 Square feet per ton. Note: New ACs are not something you want to oversize. It’s better to be appropriately sized, or perhaps even a little undersized to encourage the new AC to complete its dehumidification cycle. If a new AC is oversized, it will short cycle, causing your home to have a cold clammy feel—think of a hotel room that is cold, but the swimsuits take days to dry.

Warranty & Service: If you’re in the market for a new AC take a close look at the warranty for the AC. There’s 2 levels of warranty—warranties from the manufacturer, and warranties from the contractor that is installing the unit. Typically, on a new AC, it’s common for manufacturers to offer something around 2 years parts, and 10 years compressor. Make sure that there’s a labor warranty that accompanies this! At Heidikin Heating, Electric, Plumbing, & Well, we warranty the labor on our new ACs for 5 years—we figure if its installed right, that should be an easy promise to keep.

Brand: When it comes to the Brand of a new AC, I generally tell people to check if they have a decent reputation (pretty much all of them do), but more importantly, make sure parts are easy to get! Think of it like a car—you can buy parts for a Chevy at any parts store, buying parts for a BMW are probably harder to get. That’s why we chose Goodman for the manufacturer of all our new ACs—good reputation, and easy to find parts! I would caution you from paying too much attention to consumer rating agencies—I've seen the worst rated brands last 45 years, and the best rated brands last 10 years… It’s truly hard to tell what kinds of new and improved technologies will stand the test of time in the environments Wisconsin & Minnesota have to offer.

The moral of the story is, if you’re looking for a new AC, its a great time to do your research and make a strategic purchase when time is on your side! Buy the best efficiency you can afford, pick a size that’s just right, and above all, make sure you buy your new AC from a company that will stand by its work, and support you for years to come!

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