Lethbridge Air Conditioners
Air Conditioner Frequently Asked Questions:
- What brand of air conditioner should I buy? Brand is a consideration when buying an air conditioner, but more important than brand is what stands behind the label. A good brand name won’t allow just anyone to install their air conditioners. It will provide long warranties, with little fine print. A standard warranty in the AC world is about 5 years. A good warranty is 10 years. The best warranty is 12 years, which Maytag carries on their air conditioners.
- How do I know what efficiency I’m getting? Air Conditioners are measured in SEER ratings. This is much like measuring fuel mileage on a car. The higher your Miles/Gallon, the better fuel efficiency you’ll get. In 2011, Air Conditioners in Canada must be at least 13 SEER. Compare that to 10 or 15 years ago where air conditioners were 8 and 10 SEER. There are some units available on the market today that get SEER ratings as high as 20 and 24 SEER. Besides saving money on electricity, a unit with a higher SEER rating is typically backed by a better warranty, it’s usually quieter, and it will generally do a better job of keeping your house comfortable.
- What size of air conditioner do I need? There are some sizing ‘rules of thumb’ that are commonly used by AC contractors. Air Conditioners are commonly sized by the ‘ton’. One ton of Air Conditioning capacity is 12,000 BTUs. Incidentally, 12,o00 BTUs is the amount of cooling you get by melting one ton of ice. Hence the verbiage. Back to sizing — most Air Conditioner systems in Lethbridge are sized to deliver one ton of cooling for every 400-600 square feet of main floor living space. But be careful, the amount of south or west exposure, the age and size of windows and roofing materials, the layout and type of your home (single level, bilevel, two storey, etc), all play a very significant role in sizing your Air Conditioner. Don’t be fooled by over-the-phone sizing and pricing. It’s very easy to guess that way, but hard to stand behind your work. What you want is to insist that your contractor come to your home and do a written quote, which should always be free. That’s the only way to really get clear on sizing your Air Conditioner.
- What is the best kind of freon, or refrigerant? There are only two types commonly used in home systems in Lethbridge. R22, which is going the way of the dinosaur, is more environmentally hazardous and is being phased out of use. R410A, which is becoming the new standard, is much more environmentally friendly, and will be readily available for many years to come. Be careful if buying R22 units, they could be very expensive to service in a few short years!
- Can I do the installation myself? Air Conditioners are not plug and play. They are full of complex components and the installation requirements are very stringent. Just a small amount of moisture in the system could destroy the compressor and void the warranty. There are many ways to save money with a little DIY (do it yourself) or by getting the help of a neighbourhood handyman. Your air conditioner is not one of those ways! Since an Air Conditioner is a significant investment, we advise that you always enlist the services of a professional installation company.