Summer is at our doors, and soon our homes will be too hot for comfort. It’s now time to think about getting an Air Conditioner (AC) or upgrading your old unit to make sure you can stay cool this summer and navigate through the heat wave like a pro. Before you go ahead with your purchase, do your homework before contacting a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) professional so you will speak the same language and understand the terminology.
What size AC do you need?
You want it big enough to make your home comfortable, but not too big to waste money on energy not needed. A basic rule is to calculate 20 BTU (British Thermal Unit) per square foot. So, if you have a 1000 sq ft home, you should need a 20 000 BTU unit to remove that quantity of hot air each hour. However, the floor plan is not the only thing to consider, as you will also need to factor light exposure (number, size, type and age of windows), ceiling height, and how many floors your AC system will need to cool down. Other factors that can affect sizing are: home insulating factor (wall and attic) and the number of outer walls exposed to ambient temperatures.
What type of AC should you get for your budget?
If you are looking for HVAC systems, there are four main types, each with its pros and cons. Your budget will dictate what you can afford to install. A full HVAC system or a more affordable portable or window AC unit? No matter what you choose, make sure to go for models with an EnerGuide Label, as they are more efficient and less expensive to run. Especially if you add rebate programs in your area, they might pay for themselves quickly.
Wall or portable AC ($)
If you have a low-budget, you might consider installing a wall or mobile AC unit instead. Usually, these units indicate the BTU rating, which varies between 5 000 and 15 000 BTU. As the engine is located directly into the machine, they are noisier than the other type of AC systems.
Hybrid Heat Pump ($$)
It’s a low-cost option that has its limits. The heat pumps are air conditioners that reverse their process in the winter to create heat for your home so you can use them year-round. However, if you live somewhere where the temperature drops below 5°C, which is the case for Ontario, they might not be your best investment, as they are better for a warmer climate.
Split System ($$$)
It’s the most popular one. It has both indoor and outdoor components. It’s the right choice if you already have a ductwork and blower system should already be in place. Less noisy than the wall and portable AC units.
Ductless Mini-Split System ($$$$)
A great way to control temperature individually in different rooms, the ductless HVAC system distributes air via small wall-mounted units connected by refrigerant tubing to an outdoor condenser. It works well in homes with little space, but it requires a bigger budget to install.
Ask for an estimate from a HVAC specialist.
Now that you’ve done your homework contact a HVAC Professional who will come to your home for an estimate and help you choose the best system your money can afford. Don’t wait till the heat wave strikes to call, as you might have to wait longer to have it installed. Remember, an AC system is an investment that will make you surf through summer like a breeze!