How To Choose a New Air Conditioner for Your Des Moines Home or Office

March 20, 2015

Spring has sprung in Des Moines, and with the above-average temperatures the entire state of Iowa has been experiencing lately, you want to make sure your air conditioner is in tip-top shape. A typical A/C unit that has had regular maintenance will usually last about 16 to 20 years. If your HVAC system is getting toward the end of its life cycle, or if you’re wanting to upgrade to a more energy-efficient system, here are some things to consider before buying a new central air conditioning unit.

Invest In a New A/C Unit Before Summer

Even if you’re on the fence about buying a new central air system for your home or business, call one of the HVAC contractors at Lenz Heating & Cooling for a free diagnostic. If you do need to replace or upgrade your air conditioner, now is the best time to buy. The cost of air conditioners is at its peak from June to August because demand is high and supply is low. By upgrading your HVAC system now, you’ll have a cool, comfortable home and lower energy bills by the time the humid Iowa summer strikes.

Discuss Options with Your Local HVAC Contractor

From different types of central air conditioners to features to installation, there are many elements that factor into your decision-making process. Lenz Heating & Cooling of Des Moines is happy to help you navigate all the options so you can choose the best A/C unit for your home and your budget.

Types of Central Air Units

There are two types of central air conditioning systems: a split-system unit and a packaged unit.

Split-System Unit

As the name suggests, a split-system unit has two cabinets, one outdoors and the other indoors. The outdoor metal cabinet houses the condenser and compressor while the evaporator resides in the indoor cabinet. It is common to find the furnace or the indoor portion of a heat pump located within the indoor cabinet as well, since it’s possible to install the air conditioner’s evaporator coil in the main supply duct of the furnace or heat pump. A split-system is the more economical installation choice if your home already has a furnace but no air conditioning system.

Packaged Unit

Packaged central air conditioners have the condenser, compressor, and evaporator in one outdoor cabinet. This system is usually placed on a concrete slab next to the house’s foundation or on the roof. Packaged units are commonly used for small business buildings as well. Supply and return ducts from indoors carry air through the exterior wall or roof to the packaged air conditioner outside. With electric heating coils or a natural gas furnace included, the packaged unit combines central heat and air, therefore eliminating the need for a separate indoor furnace. If your home or office building has existing duct work, a packaged air conditioner is the most cost-effective and convenient unit.

Air Conditioning Features

One of the most sought-after features that has pretty much become an industry standard in heating and cooling is energy efficiency. If you’re in the market to buy a new air conditioner, make sure to choose a model with a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) of 13 or greater and look for the ENERGY STAR® label. For even greater energy savings, consider an air conditioner with an even higher SEER rating. Apart from energy efficiency and cost savings, here are other features to consider when buying a new air conditioner:

  • A filter check light to help remind you to inspect or change the filter after so many hours of operation.
  • Look for a high-temperature rating (EER) of 11.7 or greater. This rating indicates high-efficiency for those extremely hot summer days.
  • Make sure the unit operates quietly.
  • To reduce energy costs, consider a unit with a fan-only switch for nighttime ventilation.
  • An automatic-delay fan switch will turn off the fan shortly after the compressor stops running.

Central Air Conditioner Installation

Installation is one of the most important factors when it comes to choosing an air conditioning unit. Even a modern, high-efficiency unit will perform as poorly as an older, inefficient model if it was not installed correctly. Research local heating and cooling companies (We hope you choose the friendly professionals at Lenz!) and make sure the contractor has extensive experience in duct work and follows proper installation methods. For example, the Lenz HVAC contractors will:

  • use proper methodologies for duct sizing.
  • install duct work within the conditioned space, rather than an attic if possible.
  • make sure there are enough supply and return registers to facilitate adequate air flow.
  • seal all ducts and ensure any attic ducts are heavily insulated.
  • install an access door in the furnace or duct for an easy way to clean the evaporator coil.
  • ensure there is enough space indoors and outdoors to install, maintenance, and repair the new system.
  • make sure there are no objects near the condensing unit that could potentially block airflow.
  • verify the condensing unit does not make loud noises that could disturb you or your neighbors.
  • keep the thermostat away from heat sources.
  • check the refrigerant charge and airflow rate of the new air conditioner to ensure it abides by manufacturer specifications.

Lenz Heating & Cooling is here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer any questions or concerns you may have about your current air conditioning system. We even offer a free second opinion for equipment repairs or replacements. Installing a new air conditioner is a big investment, and our knowledgeable technicians are happy to advise you every step of the way to make sure you’re getting the best unit for your family’s comfort and finances. Give us a call today and have your a/c unit maintenanced before summer is in full swing!