How to Select the Best AC Unit for Your Home?

How to Select the Best AC Unit for Your Home?

It’s finally starting to warm up! In order to stay comfortable during the hot summer months, without breaking the bank, you want to have an efficient and well-functioning AC unit. Older AC units take more time and consume more fuel to cool down a home’s interior, ultimately driving up utility expenses. According to Energy Star, the average American household spends about 15% of its yearly utility costs on cooling. If you want to save money on gas or electric bills, then consider switching to a modern and energy-efficient AC unit.

It is important to note that this article breaks down windows, walls, portable AC units, and other single room air conditioners—NOT CENTRAL AC SYSTEMS. We created this guide for homeowners who are in the market to purchase or learn more about single-room/mobile AC models. Continue reading to find out more about AC lifespans, the advantages of new models, and which air conditioner will work best for your particular needs.

When Should Your Replace Your AC Unit

It is recommended to replace your AC about every 7-10 years. The lifespan of your AC depends on how well your original installation was, how often you use it, and where your home is located. For example, if you live in an arid or desert-like environment, then you will probably use your AC more. This means your unit works harder each time it is turned on to bring your interior temperature down to a comfortable level. AC models in the desert tend to not last as long as those in more temperate environments. It is suggested that desert homeowners should replace their AC Units every 5-8 years.

Regardless of where you live there are 5 key signs that indicate it is time to upgrade to a new AC system.

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    Sign #1: Your AC Malfunctions Frequently

    The most obvious sign of an old, faulty AC unit is if it is constantly breaking down. Instead of paying for repairs over and over again, consider upgrading your unit. It will probably save you money in the long run.

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    Sign #2: Your AC uses R22 Refrigerant

    As of 2020, the federal government has banned R22, a type of refrigerant older AC units utilized. Because of this ban you cannot order any new R22, making it very difficult to fix AC models that use this refrigerant. R22 is proven to have negative effects on the environment.

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    Sign #3: The Size of Your Home has Changed

    If you have recently completed any major remodeling, it may have changed how air flows through your home. If you have added square footage, your AC may be too small and exerting too much energy to compensate. If you removed a portion of your home, your AC may be too big and can short cycle, which may reduce the lifespan of your unit.

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    Sign #4: Higher than Normal Energy Costs

    Check up on your old power bills and compare them to your new ones (make sure it is the same time of year for both). An increase in monthly costs could, in part, be due to an inefficient AC unit. Write down the name and model number of your AC unit and do an online search for its SEER number (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating). The higher the SEER number the better! If your SEER is below 13, your unit is old and you can be saving a lot of money each year by switching to a new model.

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    Sign #5: Some Rooms Seem More or Less Humid than Others

    A major service AC attempts to carry out is to dehumidify the interior of a home. A properly running AC system brings down the humidity to allow for cool air to fill your home. If the AC is running, and your home feels muggy it could be a sign that your AC needs repair or replacement. Other similar indications include excessive moisture around windows or mold growth without any nearby, visible leaks.

Which AC model is Best for You?The Types of Air Conditioning Units:

Again, this article reviews single-room and portable systems, not central AC units. Central AC distributes conditioned air throughout the whole home, while these focus supplying a singular room or portions of the home with cool air, not your entire residence.

Below are the four main types of air conditioning units: window-mounted, wall-mounted, window/wall hybrids, and portables. Each is designed for certain use and excel in its own respected way. Units that cost less typically are basic and designed to do one thing: cool or heat the air in a singular room. More expensive units can have a humidifier, wireless controls, smart settings, and more.

Popular and Inexpensive1. Exterior/Window Mounted AC

This is the most common type of air conditioner on the market. As the name implies, Window mounted units temporarily reside in a window opening. These are common sights in many homes and apartments. They can be purchased as cooling only units or combo cooling and heating. If you live in northern latitudes, where colder winters are common, you will have to remove units from windows at the end of summer or fall.

exterior window mounted ac

Pros

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    Easily move around the home

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    Capability to store at the end of a season,

Cons

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    More expensive than similar strength window units.

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    Takes up floor space and can be an in-home eye sore.

Pricing

If you are looking for a quick and easy economic option, this is your best bet. You can find second-hand options for as low as $100. Brand new entry-level units can be found around $200-$300; these will cool around a 100-200 square foot room. The price range goes up to about $800, with models at this end having the cooling ability to condition large rooms (~700-900 square foot rooms).

Sleek & Purposeful2. Wall Mounted

Another common type, these AC units are permanently mounted on a wall by attaching a metal sleeve. The installation process can be more complex. Generally, these units are recommended for long-term rentals or if the house is purchased because it requires drilling and small wall modifications. These units come in cooling only or both cooling and heating systems.

indoor wall-mounted ac

Pros

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    Easily move around the home

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    Capability to store at the end of a season,

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    Relatively easy installation

Cons

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    More expensive than similar strength window units.

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    Takes up floor space and can be an in-home eye sore.

Pricing

Wall mounted units designed to cool down a 400 to 700 square foot room will cost about $400-$500. For larger rooms up to 1,000 square feet will cost about $700 or more. Remember to add installation costs if necessary.

Flexible & Adaptive3. Hybrid Systems

These systems are meant to be temporarily installed in a window or permanently mounted on your wall. The beauty about these systems are that they are flexible and allow homeowners to utilize them in a variety of rooms and homes.

hybrid ac

Pros

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    Easily move around the home

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    Capability to store at the end of a season,

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    Relatively easy installation

Cons

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    More expensive than similar strength window units.

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    Takes up floor space and can be an in-home eye sore.

Pricing

These costs are similar to wall-mounted units, but can tend to be more expensive because of the flexible design.

Mobile & Convenient4. Portable Units

This is the most mobile AC option available. Portable systems have wheels that allow you to roll it from room to room. They come with a flexible metal tubing which acts as an exhaust that expels heat out of a window or modified wall.

portable ac

Pros

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    Easily move around the home

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    Capability to store at the end of a season,

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    Relatively easy installation

Cons

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    More expensive than similar strength window units.

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    Takes up floor space and can be an in-home eye sore.

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    The exhaust tube must be installed each time it is moved.

Pricing

Arguably the most expensive option. It can cost $500 to $700 for a unit capable of cooling down a 300 square foot room. For larger rooms, the price can vary to around $1,000 or more.

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