Choosing A Central Air Conditioner

The decision to have a new central air conditioner installed is a big one. Once you take the leap and decide to have a new AC unit installed, you have to decide which one you'd like. Most HVAC contractors are happy to recommend a unit for you. However, it is also wise to do your own research and understand what you are getting. Here are some key things to consider as you look at different air conditioners.

Fan Speed

Some air conditioners have a one-speed fan, and other AC units have variable-speed fans. Those with one-speed fans tend to be cheaper, and they are adequate for most smaller homes. However, variable-speed models tend to be more efficient. They can run at low speed most of the time, which saves energy. If you have a larger home, the difference in energy use can be pretty substantial, which makes it worthwhile to pay more for a variable-speed air conditioner.

Vent Style

Most air conditioning systems these days are designed to vent through a PVC pipe. However, there are models that vent through larger chimneys. If you currently have an AC unit that vents through a chimney, you may want to stick with another model that vents the same way. However, since these models tend to be less efficient, you may also decide it's worthwhile to pay a little more to have your HVAC contractor install a new vent for an AC unit that vents through a PVC pipe.


You should also consider the warranty on the various AC units being offered to you. Most HVAC contractors offer a warranty on the labor, which is often the same regardless of which AC unit you purchase. However, the manufacturer's warranty on an air conditioner can vary from model to model. For instance, one air conditioner may come with a 5-year warranty, while another comes with a 3-year warranty.  It's nice to have a longer warranty since it gives you more protection against breakdown costs. However, if the AC unit with a longer warranty costs a lot more, you'll need to weigh your options.

Choosing a central air conditioner can take some time and attention to detail. Consider the details above as you make this decision. Don't be afraid to ask your HVAC contractor for some advice, too. They can help you weigh the pros and cons of different AC units they have available.