So you’ve made up your mind to buy a new central air conditioner. Now what? The process of choosing an AC system may feel so confusing that you don’t know what to do next.
Reading this guide is a great step. We explain 7 important considerations that will help you find the best central air conditioner for your needs.
1. Do You Want An Energy Efficient AC?
Ottawa summertime temperatures are often blazing hot. As a result, air conditioning costs may account for as much as 50 percent of your electrical use in the summer months. Fortunately, purchasing an energy-efficient AC will save money on your utility bills. At the same time, you’ll be doing your part to keep our planet healthier.
If you haven’t gone shopping for new central air conditioning in a while, you are about to be pleasantly surprised. Did you know that the major air conditioner companies are making their products substantially more energy-efficient than they did a decade or more ago? According to the US Department of Energy, modern AC systems are 20-40 percent higher in efficiency than those manufactured just a decade previously.
However, there is still quite a range of energy efficiency. To be sure you’re getting the most energy-efficient AC possible, there are 2 numbers to look at:
- Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) measures how efficiently a particular model performs over the course of the cooling season. To calculate the seasonal energy efficiency of each unit, the number of BTUs removed by the unit is divided by the watt-hours of energy required. 13 is the minimum SEER for new air conditioners sold in Canada today, as per the federal Energy Efficiency Regulations. AC units with a SEER of at least 14.5 will earn the Energy Star certification, which is awarded to electrical appliances with a high level of energy efficiency. The most energy-efficient air conditioners on the market have impressive ratings of up to 26 SEER!
- Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) is another indication of energy efficiency, which is less frequently used. The EER is determined according to the amount of electrical energy required to produce a particular level of cooling. With both EER and SEER, higher numbers indicate greater efficiency.
Natural Resources Canada recommends regular cleaning and annual professional maintenance of the system to optimize your new central air conditioner’s energy efficiency. Installation of a programmable thermostat is also useful.
2. Are You Interested In A Heat Pump?
Heat pumps are highly energy-efficient appliances that will supply you with both cooling and heating. A heat pump works by moving heat energy outside your house in summer and inside in winter.
A heat pump will cost you more initially than a conventional central air conditioner and requires complex installation. When buying a heat pump for a Canadian home, it’s best to choose one with a backup source of heat. On the other hand, in addition to their energy savings, high-efficiency heat pumps offer several other significant advantages:
- Reduced heat pump operating costs
- Low maintenance
- Long service life of 14-15 years or more
Looking for a heat pump rebate? You may want to check out the Canada Greener Homes Grant. There are two parts to this grant:
- An initial EnerGuide evaluation, followed by expert advice (reimbursed up to $600) as to the best energy efficient retrofits for your home
- A rebate of as much as $5,000, awarded to homeowners once their energy-efficient retrofits have been completed
3. Does Your Home Have Ductwork?
Before installing a central air conditioning system, you’ll need ductwork to carry the cooled air to all the rooms of your house. If you are buying a replacement air conditioner or if you currently have a forced-air furnace, that means you already have ductwork.
If your home does not contain ductwork, a retrofit is possible. Putting in compact high-pressure ducts will simplify the procedure and take up the minimum of space in your attic, walls, and underfloor area.
An alternative is to install ductless air conditioners, which have several advantages, including space savings, more straightforward installation, and high energy efficiency.
4. Make Sure Your Air Conditioner Is Sized Correctly
Central air conditioners are sized in terms of BTUs. Although the formula 20 BTU per square foot of floor space can be used as a rough guide, expert calculation of your home’s BTU requirements is essential to size your air conditioner accurately. Our HVAC professionals will consider factors such as:
- Total floor space
- Ceiling height
- Number of stories
- Number of windows and doors
- Amount of insulation
- Your family’s personal cooling preferences
A correctly sized AC system, neither too small nor overly large, will do the most efficient job of cooling and dehumidifying your home.
5. An AC Protection Plan Is Necessary
Buying the best central air conditioning for your home is an important beginning. To make sure that your investment will continue to serve you well, protect your new appliance with the proper air conditioning maintenance and service plan.
What should you look for? At Ottawa Home Services, our AC protection plan includes annual:
- In-depth inspection and maintenance, scheduled to suit you
- System cleaning and tune-up
- Testing for the presence of carbon monoxide gas
It also comprises superior customer service throughout the year (even during Ottawa heatwaves!), namely:
- Priority service 24/7, with no upcharge after hours
- Convenient payment, via your Enbridge gas bill
- Extended repair warranty
- Potential savings on the cost of repairs, plus 10 percent off AC & furnace maintenance bundle
- Best of all, peace of mind!
6. Air Conditioner Rental Is An Option
Perhaps you’re not quite ready to commit to buying a central air conditioning system at the moment. You might be planning to move within the next year or two — or you have other financial priorities.
Did you know that renting an air conditioner from Ottawa Home Services is an option? Choose one of our rental units and enjoy high-quality home comfort at an affordable monthly rate. Your rental agreement will also include free AC inspection and maintenance every other year.
7. Pick A Trusted Brand
The most trusted air conditioning brands have earned their reputations due to years of excellent performance and service. At Ottawa Home Services, we work with the following top-tier brands:
Carrier, the firm which invented the very first modern air conditioner in 1903, continues to deliver superlative, extremely reliable products. Carrier offers central air conditioning for every budget, with SEER ratings ranging from 13 to 26.
Comfortmaker is made by Carrier, who invented the very first modern air conditioner in 1903, continues to deliver superlative, extremely reliable products. Comfortmaker offers central air conditioning for every budget, with SEER ratings ranging from 13 to 26.
Lennox is another veteran AC manufacturer. The company is well-known for their precise temperature control. Lennox central air conditioners are SEER-rated between 15.5 and 26. Many models are Energy-Star certified.
Ottawa Home Services — Your Cooling Experts
Talk to us about your home cooling needs today. We have a team of air conditioning experts ready to assist you in selecting the best system for your household. You can rely on OHS for air conditioner sales, installation, and service.