home improvement

Central Air Conditioner Buying Guide: #Things to Consider

Installing or replacing a central air conditioner in your home doesn’t have to be stressful. While this can be a somewhat costly home upgrade, you’ll definitely reap the benefits when you enjoy a more comfortable indoor temperature throughout the hottest months of the year. To make sure you spend wisely, be sure to consider these important factors when buying a new central air conditioner.

Image via Flickr by HomeSpot HQ

One size does not fit all when it comes to central air conditioners. Evaluate your home’s unique needs when deciding what unit size is right for you. Keep in mind that the unit size will refer to the cooling power of the unit rather than its physical size. 

While the square footage of your home can provide a helpful estimate, the best way to determine which AC unit size you need is to have a licensed HVAC technician perform a load calculation. Some suppliers offer free on-site consultations to help determine your home’s cooling needs. 

Energy Efficiency

Cooling costs contribute to a significant portion of a home’s energy bills, so it’s smart to look for a central air conditioning system that makes the most of energy resources. Here are some energy-efficient features in central air conditioners to look for:

  • An approval rating from ENERGY STAR
  • A seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) of at least 15
  • An energy efficiency ratio (EER) of at least 12.5
  • Large coils for efficient heat transfer
  • A thermal expansion valve
  • A variable-speed blower to reduce electricity consumption
  • A fan-only switch
  • An automatic delay fan switch
  • A filter indicator light.


Naturally, you’ll want to search for a great deal on your new air conditioning system. Just be careful not to end up with a low-quality system in exchange for a more affordable price. You want to get the best value for your budget, so do your research and make sure you’re investing in a solid system for your home. 

Keep in mind that you may be able to save a little extra money with utility company or government rebates if you purchase a model that meets ENERGY STAR or Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) standards.


The key to maintaining your new HVAC system so that it runs well and lasts for years is to schedule regular service visits from qualified professionals. However, you may also want to look for a good warranty when shopping for a central air conditioner. The standard for most systems today is a 10-year warranty. If you’re opting for a top-of-the-line unit, look for a warranty that’s even longer. 

Some models may also include lifetime coverage for the compressor, which happens to be the most expensive part of a central air conditioning system to fix or replace. 


When you’re running the air conditioning in your home, you probably won’t notice the sound too much. Unfortunately, your neighbors will if you end up with a particularly loud AC unit. Look for a model that’s noted for its quiet operation if you live with neighbors close by or if you enjoy sitting outside during the warmer months.

With a new AC unit, you and your family can stay comfortable despite high temperatures outside. Use these tips to make a smart purchase for this important home upgrade.

Samantha hails from Virginia and is a proud wife to a retired Deputy Sheriff and mother to two amazing little boys named Jack & William. A veteran product reviewer; Samantha has been reviewing products for 8 years and offers high quality product reviews with original photography.

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