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Air Conditioner Buying Guide



If you’re shopping around for a new air conditioning unit, the sheer volume of available choices just might have you scratching your head. However, don’t be intimidated. It’s easy to make your selection once you know a few details about the different types of air conditioners and some of the terminology often used to describe them. So here is a look at some of the most common air conditioner types:

Central Air Conditioning System
A central air conditioning unit is the most common choice among homeowners. This type of air conditioner provides whole home cooling through the duct work in your house. This style of air conditioner is highly efficient, particularly when used in conjunction with a programmable thermostat. By maintaining a warmer temperature when your home is empty and closing the vents in unused rooms, homeowners create a home cooling strategy that conserves energy and keeps bills low.

Portable air Conditioners
As the name suggests, these small units are lauded for their portability and typically purchased by apartment dwellers and those with inefficient or malfunctioning central air systems. While these units are good for cooling a small, enclosed space, they are generally inefficient and expensive to operate.

For consumers looking for a home cooling unit with more cooling power than a portable air conditioner, the window unit may appear to be an attractive solution. This style of unit is an ideal solution for renters. However, the temporary nature of the installation results in cool air leakage, which leads to inefficient performance, making it a subpar choice for most homeowners.

Terms to Consider When Purchasing an Air Conditioner

BTUs (British Thermal Units)
All units have a BTU rating, which essentially measures how powerful an air conditioning unit is. While it is advised that you discuss your options thoroughly with a cooling specialist, generally the more BTUs, the more ability the unit has to cool a space.

This is the cooling output on an average day divided by the total electrical energy output during the same time period. The most energy efficient units will have the highest SEER ratings.

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