With temperatures climbing to triple digits in many areas of the country, air conditioning units have been flying off store shelves. If you’re fortunate enough to find a good air conditioner still in the store, you should ask yourself a number of questions before buying it.
With temperatures climbing to triple digits in many areas of the country, air conditioning units have been flying off store shelves.
“We’re just about sold out,” said Kyle Tremblay, general sales manager at Kahians AplianceOne & HDTV in Hanover, Mass.
If you’re fortunate enough to find a good air conditioner still in the store, you should ask yourself a number of questions before buying it.
Assess the space you want to cool. Consider the square footage, how high your ceilings are, how many windows there are and how well they’re sealed, how much sunlight the space gets and whether it is enclosed or open.
Air conditioners have a cooling capacity of 5,000 to 18,000 BTUs. For every 300 square feet of space, you will generally need 8,000 BTUs.
Be careful not to plug in an air conditioner with more than 12,000 BTUs into a regular 110-volt outlet, Tremblay said. You will probably blow a fuse.
Most window units are now digital with remote controls and are included on the Energy Star list of energy-efficient appliances. Depending on the model and power, expect to pay $200 to $400, with a one-year warranty.
If you live in a spacious house, you should consider installing central air. Though it costs more than a window unit at first, it’s often more effective. Central air systems cost $8,000 to upwards of $10,500 with a 10-year parts warranty, said Carl Tucci, principal for All Phases Mechanical, an HVAC design and installation company in Carver, Mass.
Just as important as selecting your cooling system is the installation, said Mark Newton, an estimator at All Phases. Make sure the contractor you hire is licensed and insured.
Patriot Ledger writer Ashlee Fairey may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tax credits and rebates:
- Central air conditioning systems may qualify for federal tax credits.
- Package systems must have a SEER rating of 14 or above.
- Split systems must have a SEER rating of 16 or above.
- You must have a manufacturer’s certification statement.
- If your system qualifies, you can save 30 percent of cost, including labor and installation, up to $1,500.