How to Choose an AC System

How to Choose an AC System for your home amongst a wide variety of units on today’s market.  Do your research and know which questions to ask so that you can make an educated decision.  Selecting the appropriate AC system is crucial for saving money on electric bills, repairs, noise and peace of mind.

Energy efficiency

A major factor when selecting a new AC system if the efficiency rating.  Air conditioner efficiency is rated in SEER – Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating.  

SEER represents the seasonal energy efficiency of air conditioners. This means SEER represents a more accurate rating for the climate because it is based on a range of outdoor temperatures from 68 degrees to 104 degrees.

SEER for central air conditioning units ranges from 14 to 26. If you have an older system you may see SEER ratings as low as 6. Technology advancements have allowed air conditioners to become more efficient with higher standards. Right now, the lowest SEER available for installation is 14.

If you’re replacing an existing AC system talk to your HVAC company about SEER options. New Mexico temperatures range from 80 to 100 degrees during Spring and summer.  Having an accurate energy rating for your air conditioner will be a huge advantage when it comes to cooling your home and saving money.

Number of Stages

A one stage system is either operating at full capacity or it is off.   Most older units are one stage.

Two stage cooling means the air conditioner has a compressor with two levels of operation, high for hot summer days and low for milder days. Since the low setting is adequate to meet household-cooling demands 80% of the time, a two-stage unit runs for longer periods and produces more even temperatures.

Compared to a single-stage unit, a two-stage air conditioner removes twice as much moisture from the air.  High levels of moisture can cause mold and mildew to grow in the air ducts.

Longer cooling cycles also mean a quieter, more efficient unit.  Which brings us to our next criteria.  

Noise level

Noise level is measured in decibels.  The sound level of whispering in a library is about 30 decibels.  The sound level of a normal conversation is about 60 decibels.  A running lawn mower can produce a 107-decibel level.  

A good AC system should run between 50 and 70 decibels. 

AC Capacity

This is the crucial component.  None of the above factors matter if the air conditioner is not correctly sized for your home. The proper size of the air conditioner depends on many factors including the home’s square footage, type of construction material – especially the insulation, orientation with respect to the sun, windows, and a few other factors.

Do a load calculation. It is essential that load calculations and unit sizing be performed by a professional HVAC company to ascertain that the designed unit will adequately cool your home without being too large or too small.

If you’re in the market for a new HVAC unit call Polar Heating and Refrigeration today at 505-250-2329. They proudly serve Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, and outlying areas within 80 miles of Albuquerque.