The market offer in central air conditioners has increased very much in the past years. But buying a central air conditioner is actually easier than you think, provided you know a few things about them. Here is your short, unbiased air conditioner buying guide. We will cover prices, which are the best brands, reviews and how efficient having an air conditioner really is.
Types of central air conditioner units
When discussing your options with a HVAC designer, he or she will recommend different types of air conditioners, depending on each application. Here are the most commonly used types:
- Window air conditioners – this is the most widespread type of AC for single rooms. All its components are fitted into a single box that is then placed in a slot in the wall or on the window sill.
- Split air conditioners – are made of two parts, the outdoor and the indoor unit. They are preferred because you don’t have to gauge your wall to make room for them and because they look very good. They can be used to cool one or two rooms.
- Packaged air conditioners – they are normally used if you desire to cool more than two rooms or for very big spaces.
- Central air conditioners – they are used for cooling entire buildings, offices, hotels, gyms, factories, movie theatres, and everything in between.
Sizing an air conditioner
One of the main questions people ask themselves when faced with the perspective of buying an AC is – how large of a central air unit do I need for my house? Indeed, it is a valid question, because sizing an AC unit is very important.
The first thing you must know is the fact that an AC’s size doesn’t refer to how big the machine actually is. It regards the machine’s ability to produce more or less cool air. This capacity is measured in BTUs per hour and in tons. BTU stands for British Thermal Unit and it measures the heat output. One BTU is equal to the amount of energy that is needed to raise 1 pound of water’s temperature by 1-degree F. One ton means 12 000 BTUs per hour. It’s also the amount of energy needed to melt 1 ton of ice in 24 hours, hence the name.
In order to know which one is best for you, you should rely on a specialist to help you. There are many factors to consider when you make the choice, such as: the size of your house, how many rooms you have, how well your house is insulated, the climate you live in, what your family’s preferences are, your house’s design, and what your budget is.
Central air conditioner prices
It’s difficult to assess how much an air conditioner system is going to cost you, because its price depends on so many variables. However, a standard central system will cost you between $3000 and $6000 to install, on average. Of course, the price can be below or above that, depending on those variables. This is why it’s important to not buy the first one you see. Make sure you analyze at least three personalized offers before you make a purchase.
Also, as far as costs go, you should be aware not only of the ACs cost in itself, but of the electricity bill too. If you live in a hot climate, your central air conditioner will be forced to run frequently. This translates into the fact that your electricity bill will sky rocket. The total amount of electricity an AC uses depends on its cooling capacity and its energy efficiency. The best thing you can do is to ask the seller about both these things before you purchase the system. The simple idea behind this is that the more efficient your central air conditioner is, the less it will cost you on the long run.
What are the best air conditioner brands in the world?
These brands have been chosen as the best in the world based on certain criteria such as warranty, prices, efficiency as far as cooling goes, power, filtering functions and, last but not least, user reviews. Here they are.
- Hitachi – This multinational Japanese company was founded in 1910 and they currently make what are considered to be the best ACs in the world. Apart from the fact that they rank first as far as technology, efficiency, and value for money goes, they also offer low power consumption and emit very little greenhouse type of gases.
- LG – They have always used state of the art technologies in building their air conditioners, such as jet cooling systems, inverter technology and plasma filtration.
- Carrier – This particular company is extremely old. They first started in the air conditioning business in 1902. Since then, they have managed to stay ahead of everybody else by always bringing something unique to the table. For example, they use active carbon deodizers and silver ion filters. They filter the air of any potentially harmful bacteria and remove all the bad smells.
- Samsung – The South Korean company attracts it customers by offering them energy star rating, dehumidification technology and turbo cleaning. They claim their air conditioners remove bacteria that cause allergies and diseases. However, it’s important to note that Samsung produces high priced and maintained ACs.
- Voltas – This one is an Indian multinational company. It was founded back in 1954 and their headquarters are located in Mumbai. They are famous for having provided the air conditioning systems to Burj Khalifa, the tallest building ever made. This just goes to prove that users all over the world really do trust Voltas as a company.
Before purchasing any air conditioner, make sure you read its warranty. Also, do not forget to read the terms and conditions it comes with. The warranty often varies very much between manufacturers. Some offer warranty for the entire system, while other for juts parts of it. As stated, air conditioners are not difficult to understand, purchase or use, as long as you know all the ins and outs.