Buying central air conditioning can be difficult, but you can take steps that make shopping easier and faster.

Follow these tips when buying central air conditioning.

Follow these tips when buying central air conditioning.

Oppressive heat ruins a home, so buying central air conditioning is not a frivolous purchase.

Central Air Conditioning is Popular

Central Air Conditioning is Popular

Is procrastination a new branch of science at your house? Every summer, millions of homeowners swear that buying central air conditioning will be their next act. In fact, 75 percent of all U.S. residences have air conditioning, as do 90 percent of all new homes. Even if you have never installed central air conditioning, it is likely that you will need to repair a system sometime during your life.

Central Air Conditioning Types

There are two types of whole-house systems: traditional central air conditioning and split-ductless systems, the latter being the most popular. Split ductless systems are good for central air installation in homes that cannot accommodate extensive duct work. This system includes one to four indoor blowers, tubing, electric lines and drain lines. Ductless systems are popular upgrades to older homes but are more expensive than window air conditioners or single room units and often require professional installation. A traditional central air conditioner is often included in a newer home's original plans. As is true with other types of air conditioning, the system circulates refrigerant-cooled air through a home's ducts. In some regions, air conditioners add humidity, and in others, a system will slightly dry the air. Regardless of its type, a central air conditioner will last from 10 to 20 years. When considering central air conditioning, the type will be your first consideration.

Central Air Conditioning Types

Buying Central Air Conditioning

In air conditioning, size does not refer to a unit's physical dimensions, but its cooling capacity, measured in British Thermal Units (BTU). Buying a larger unit does not necessarily result in better cooling. A system that is too large will cycle on and off too frequently, but a system that is too small will not effectively cool your home. Unit size impacts daily central air conditioner cost, but installation challenges can also have an effect. If your central air installation uses your home's existing heat ducts, it may still cost over $6,000, and a top brand air conditioner unit can cost between $2,500 and $3,500 to install. However, a complicated system can cost $20,000 before it is installed. You can lower some of your central air conditioner cost with rebates. When looking for central air conditioning, choose a system with a high-efficiency rating. A higher rating can add to your initial costs, but the unit will save money in the long run. Check the warranty to be sure it runs for at least ten years. However, you can find models offering lifetime warranties on their air conditioners' compressors. Systems offering lifetime warranties can be more expensive, but the compressor is a vital part of your air conditioner. Additionally, find out how noisy a unit might be before you buy it. Most systems are very quiet while you are in the house but noisy outside. Your unit will be quieter after your central air conditioning repair is complete.

Considering your contractor

There are three steps in hiring a contractor: comparing bids, negotiating and finalizing the deal in writing. The best central air conditioner brands will recommend certified installers. Getting quotes from at least three different installers can increase your odds of finding a good professional, as can contacting organizations like the Air Conditioning Contractors of America. When interviewing a contractor, ask to see his or her license and certifications. The Environmental Protection Agency certifies HVAC technicians who handle refrigerant-charged cooling systems. Since these certifications have four levels, look for technicians who are Level II Certified. During the interview, secure the details of your installation. Contractors may omit necessary tasks to keep their bids low, so get a list of the steps your contractor will take and have a written contract. The contractor should calculate your cooling needs and their estimate should be based on your home's square footage. Ask if the repair company provides 24/7 service for emergencies and how the company charges for emergency calls. Also, ask about the company's payment policies, as many allow installments on large bills or can refer you to a loan company with reasonable rates.

Central Air Conditioning Repair

Eventually, you'll need to schedule a central air conditioning repair. As your system ages, it may not cool as efficiently, the outdoor unit may get noisy or its cycling behavior may change. While you can execute minor maintenance tasks, like changing filters, you'll need a professional for other issues. The repairman can insulate and inspect your ducts, clean the coils, check the coolant, and remove plant growth and other obstructions from the exterior unit. Repairmen can also replace the evaporator coil, fan motor, pump and thermostat. They can also add more coolant and fix refrigerant leaks. Troubleshooting your system can cost between $75 and $100, and repairs range from $60 to $1,800. Before calling the repairman, make a list of the problems you have noticed, have your model number and year and maintenance history handy, and check your warranty. Then, you can compare prices and look for service packages. Again, you'll want to get three or more written estimates with details of the services that the repairman will provide. Remember to get referrals from friends and relatives as well.