When the summer heat rises, there’s nothing quite like the refreshing relief of stepping into an excellent, air-conditioned space. But with so many available options, choosing the best central AC unit for your home or building can feel overwhelming. There are many factors to consider, from the size and efficiency to the type of refrigerant used. The good news is that with the correct information, selecting the perfect central AC unit can be a straightforward and stress-free process. In this ultimate guide from Sarman Air, we’ll explore everything you need to know to make an informed decision and ensure you stay relaxed and comfortable all summer. So let’s get started!
What is Central AC Unit?
A Central AC (air conditioning) unit is a system that cools the air in a building or home. It is a type of HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system that uses a network of ducts to distribute cool air throughout a space.
The central AC unit typically comprises an outdoor compressor unit and an indoor evaporator coil unit. The compressor unit draws in hot air from inside the building and then cools it down by passing it over refrigerant-filled coils. The cooled air is then sent back into the building through the ductwork.
Central AC units are commonly used in larger homes and buildings where individual room air conditioning units could be more practical and efficient. They are also used in commercial and industrial settings, such as office buildings, hospitals, and factories.
The Importance of Choosing the Right Central AC Unit
Choosing a suitable central AC unit is crucial for several reasons. First, it impacts your home’s comfort. An undersized unit won’t cool your home adequately, while an oversized unit will cycle on and off frequently, causing temperature fluctuations and discomfort.
Second, choosing a suitable central AC unit can save you money on your energy bills. A high-efficiency team can reduce your energy consumption and lower your utility bills. Third, a suitable central AC unit can improve indoor air quality by removing allergens, pollutants, and humidity.
The Different Types of Central AC Units
There are several types of central AC units available. The most common styles include:
A split system has two parts: an outdoor and an indoor unit. The outdoor unit houses the compressor and the condenser, while the indoor unit contains the evaporator coil and the air handler. Refrigerant lines connect the two teams and require ductwork to circulate cool air throughout the home.
Split systems are the most commonly installed central AC units in the United States. They are suitable for homes with a basement or an attic. They are energy-efficient, quiet, and easy to install.
A packaged system has all its components in one cabinet and is typically installed on the roof or the ground. The unit houses the compressor, condenser, evaporator coil, and air handler in one cabinet. The unit requires ductwork to circulate cool air throughout the home.
Packaged systems are ideal for homes without a basement or limited indoor space. They are easy to install and maintain and are energy-efficient.
Ductless Mini-Split System:
A ductless mini-split system has an outdoor unit connected to one or more indoor units that deliver cool air directly to specific rooms. Each indoor unit has its thermostat, allowing for individual temperature control. Ductless mini-split systems are energy-efficient, quiet, and easy to install. They are ideal for homes without ductwork or for room additions or renovations.
Factors you must consider when selecting the best central AC unit for your home
Before buying an AC unit for your home, you have to consider these tips:
Determine the Size of the Unit
The size of your AC unit is crucial when choosing the best unit for your home. An oversized unit will cool your home quickly but shut down frequently, increasing energy consumption and wear and tear. On the other hand, an undersized unit will have to work harder to cool your home, leading to higher energy bills and poor performance. Therefore, it is essential to determine the appropriate size of the unit for your home.
The most common method for sizing an AC unit is the Manual J calculation, which considers factors such as the size of your home, the number of occupants, the type and quality of insulation, and the orientation of your home. You can use an online calculator to estimate the AC unit size you need. Still, it is recommended that you consult with an HVAC professional to ensure that you get an accurate size calculation.
Consider the Noise Level
A noisy AC unit can be a nuisance near living spaces or bedrooms. Some AC units produce a lot of noise, while others are designed to operate quietly. Consider the unit’s noise level when selecting to ensure that you choose one that will not distract you and your family.
The decibel rating is used to measure the noise level of AC units. The lower the dB rating, the quieter the unit. Most modern AC units have a dB rating between 50 and 70, but some high-end models can have a rating as low as 20 dB. Consider your lifestyle and the location of your AC unit when choosing the appropriate dB rating for your needs.
Look for Additional Features
Modern central AC units have various features to improve performance and energy efficiency. These features include variable-speed air handlers, programmable thermostats, and zoning systems. Consider these additional features to choose a unit that meets your needs.
Variable-speed air handlers allow your AC unit to adjust its cooling capacity based on the cooling load, resulting in more energy savings and greater comfort. Programmable thermostats allow you to set the temperature of your home based on your schedule, which can also help save you money on your energy bills. Zoning systems allow you to divide your house into different temperature zones, improving energy efficiency and comfort.
Compare Different Brands
There are numerous brands of central AC units in the market, each with unique features and benefits. When selecting the best unit for your home, it is essential to compare different brands to determine which offers the best value for money.
It is worth noting that the AC unit brand is one of many factors to consider. The unit’s installation is also crucial in ensuring optimal performance and energy efficiency. Therefore, it is recommended that you choose an HVAC professional with experience in installing the brand of AC unit you choose.
Consider the Cost
The cost of a central AC unit is an important consideration when selecting. The unit’s price can vary significantly based on brand, size, and features. It is essential to determine your budget before selecting to ensure that you choose an affordable unit that meets your needs.
While it may be tempting to choose a lower-priced unit, it is essential to consider the long-term costs of operating and maintaining the unit. A higher-priced unit may have better energy efficiency and require less maintenance, resulting in cost savings in the long run.
Choose a Reputable HVAC Contractor
Choosing the right HVAC contractor is as important as selecting a suitable AC unit. A reputable contractor will ensure the unit is installed correctly and optimally. They will also provide regular maintenance and repair services to ensure the unit operates efficiently and lasts long.
When choosing an HVAC contractor, consider their experience, certifications, and customer reviews. It is recommended that you choose a contractor who is licensed, insured, and has experience installing the brand of AC unit you choose.