How to Pick the Best AC Unit for My Home


During northern Indiana summers, a reliable air conditioner is a top priority. Finding the best air conditioning systems can seem complicated. For many purchases, a simple Google search can quickly help you find an answer. Finding the best air conditioner is a more complex project than most. At N.E.W. Plumbing and Heating, our team provides complete solutions for air conditioning, heating and plumbing.

Our process helps to simplify the process of selecting the ideal air conditioning system for your home and takes time to listen to your questions. Whether your old air conditioner is breaking down or you are planning for a home project, finding the best system must meet your personal needs.

5 Steps to Choosing Your Next Air Conditioner

There is no single air conditioner for every home. Even amongst the top manufacturers, there are many model sizes, features and capabilities to consider. As well as matching an AC unit to the needs of your home, you should consider the needs of your family and the long-term benefits of the right air conditioning unit. There are five key steps to selecting central air conditioners. When you are familiar with these steps working with a certified HVAC expert is a smooth process.

Step 1: Decide on the type of air conditioner

There are several types of air conditioners to choose from, including central air conditioning, ductless mini-split systems, window units, and portable air conditioners. Window air conditioners and portable air conditioners are a last resort. These are far less effective and sometimes create more problems than they solve. Central air conditioning is the most common solution because these systems provide even comfort throughout your home, ensure long-term reliability, and are extremely energy efficient.

If you have a home or rooms that do not have air ducts, ductless mini-split systems are a great solution. In many cases, a sunroom, converted garage, attic office or a new room addition can benefit from ductless mini-splits. These systems bring comfort to your home with a long-term and safe solution.

Another option is heat pumps. Air source heat pumps provide an energy-efficient option to provide air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter. These HVAC systems have become more popular in recent years as technology has advanced. Unlike traditional AC units and furnaces, heat pumps run completely on renewable energy so they are considered a more eco-friendly air conditioner.

Deciding on the type of air conditioner is largely determined by your home and where you live. For many areas of the country, traditional AC units provide cool air and a furnace delivers powerful heating during cold winters. These are the most common HVAC systems installed and maintained by our team in Indiana.

Step 2: Determine the appropriate size air conditioner for your home

Once you know the type of air conditioner you want to install, there is a step to determine the correct size. Air conditioners are rated by manufacturers for capacity measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs) per hour. A load calculation is performed that includes several factors, including the square footage of your home, the number of openings (windows and doors), the amount of insulation, the direction your home faces, and other factors. This determines the amount of heat that needs to be removed to maintain a comfortable temperature.

If you install an air conditioner that is rated for the square footage of your home but ignores other factors, you are likely to reduce the service life of the air conditioner and need more frequent repairs. Buying the biggest and most powerful air conditioners wastes energy and money. Professional HVAC experts help to calculate the figures for you and match the right size options.

Step 3: Consider the efficiency rating

Manufacturers offer a number of models with distinct energy efficiency ratings. While you may be tempted to buy the lowest cost air conditioner to save on installation costs, this can cost you far more in the long run. As energy bills seem to constantly rise, buying a high efficiency system can save hundreds and even thousands of dollars in energy bills. A Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating of 14 is the minimum offered by manufacturers.

Especially if you plan on living in your home for a number of years, opting for a higher efficiency is recommended:

  • SEER 16-18: Air conditioners with SEER ratings in this range are considered to be high-efficiency models. They are more expensive than lower SEER models, but they can significantly reduce your energy bills over time.
  • SEER 19-21: These are ultra-high-efficiency air conditioners that are designed to provide maximum energy savings. For homeowners with a focus on reducing their carbon footprints, these systems use far less energy than other cooling units.

There are some options with even higher ratings but you may not need to pay only for the new HVAC unit. The seasonal energy efficiency rating only determines part of the story. Just like buying an oversized unit, installing an ultra-high efficiency air conditioner to a poorly designed central AC system may result in waste. Professional installation will include a full examination of your existing system. Upgrading ductwork, optimizing ventilation, and adding insulation to your home have long-term benefits, protecting your new air conditioner from strain and reducing the risk of a breakdown.

Step 4: Look for additional features

Especially in times of stress, you may overlook this step. If your cooling system breaks down on a balmy night, you just need an effective repair or replacement. This is understandable but there are some real benefits to taking a beat and considering additional accessories and features. Smart controls, programmable thermostats and variable speed compressors can greatly improve energy efficiency and often are affordable add-ons.

If you or other family members have allergies or respiratory illnesses, indoor air quality accessories are a great solution. Whole house humidifiers, air cleaners and air purifiers mount into your air handler to treat all of the air circulating in your home.

Step 5: Consider your budget

The reason we always list this as the final step is so you can make an informed decision. Most of the time following these four steps lets you consider a good, better and best option. If you only consider budget first, you might overlook a better option that could save you far more money in the long run in lowering energy bills and reducing repairs. Better options will also last a number of years longer than the economy models. When you can take the time to consider all the factors and make an informed choice you will always be more satisfied and more comfortable.

Always Work With a Professional HVAC Contractor

When you work with a certified HVAC pro the selection, planning and installation process will be smooth. Great companies like our team at N.E.W. Plumbing & Heating are local businesses. This means when you hire a local HVAC expert, you gain a long-term home services partner. Your central air conditioning system benefits from maintenance. Your hometown expert will help schedule service at the ideal time and protect your air conditioner from potential risks. We also provide ongoing repair services so our customers feel secure no matter what weather comes our way.

For homeowners in the Warsaw, Indiana area, our team is always ready to help with all air conditioning needs. From maintenance, repair, installation and even financing replacement air conditioning units, we are happy to help you.