Tips for choosing the most cost-effective air-conditioning units
- An air conditioner’s efficiency is rated by the seasonal energy efficiency
ratio (SEER). Opt for a higher SEER rating for greater energy efficiency, which translates to
fewer greenhouse emissions and lower monthly electric bills.
- Check the yellow ENERGY STAR ratings on units.
- Choose the right British thermal unit (BTU) for your room size to ensure
you get the most energy-efficient cooling system.
Why should you estimate air conditioner
If your existing air conditioning system is getting older, its efficiency has
drastically decreased, and if it’s getting noisier or needs frequent repair work – it’s time to
replace your HVAC system.
Today, newer and better AC units are quieter and more energy
efficient, and they have more power than older models.
What’s more, new air conditioners must meet a minimum standard of 13 SEER.
Apart from the increased cooling efficiency, a high SEER rating also saves you money on your energy
Moreover, the government offers tax credits to incentivize homeowners to buy
energy-efficient home products, including ENERGY STAR-rated air conditioners.
So, once you decide to replace the air conditioner in your home, you need to
know how much of an investment you need for this home improvement.
It’s also the best way to ensure that you don’t stumble across any unwelcome
surprises during the execution of your project.
Acquiring a free estimate for your heating and cooling unit will help you
create a realistic budget for the replacement.
Different types of air conditioners
- 1. Window air conditioner
- Cost: $550 to $3,000
This compact unit is placed in a window and is a good choice if you want
cooling in just one room. The appliance pushes the warm air out of a room and blows cool air into
it. An adjustable louver controls the direction of airflow for increased comfort.
| Popular AC option
||Permanently blocks a window and outside view
| Easily available in the market
| Makes relatively little noise while working
||Replacement is tricky without exterior support
| Has medium-range energy efficiency
||Removing the AC can be a hassle
| Water drains out easily; no extra piping required
||Requires a trained professional for replacement
| Can adequately cool a room up to 650 sq ft
||May pose a security risk
- 2. Through-the-wall air conditioner
- Cost: $300 to $1,500
This type of air conditioner is placed flush with a wall and has a streamlined
appearance. It has a higher cooling capacity and weighs slightly more compared to window ACs.
||Very difficult to remove once replaced
| Does not block a window or view
||Tedious replacement and insulation requires a lot of work
| Better cooling capacity than window ACs with more BTUs
||Replacement cannot be ill-fitted or wind will blow into house
| No installation of ducts and joints required
- 3. Portable air conditioners
- Cost: $345 to $700
A portable air conditioner cools the air inside a room by venting out any warm
air through an exhaust hose installed in a window. It needs no installation and is perfect for a
smaller living area.
| No installation required
||Noisier cooling option
| Easily moved from one room to another
||Cooling a room may take more time
| Budget-friendly option
||Water tanks need regular cleaning
||May be inadequate for a large room
- 4. Ductless, mini-split air conditioner
- Cost: $1,300 to $4,500
These split systems have high energy efficiency. Moreover, they look neat, are
flexible and quieter, and offer heating as well as cooling.
Both the outdoor compressor or condenser and the indoor handling unit are
connected through an insulated conduit.
| Technically advanced, high energy-efficiency
||Not a DIY project
| Relatively easy installation or replacement
||May cost 30% more to run than central air conditioning
| Less prone to air leakage and security problems
||High maintenance and repair costs
| Neat, quieter and less visible
| Provides both cooling and heating
- 5. Central air conditioning
- Cost: $660 to $4,000
A central air system is ideal for larger homes. It cools any living space
efficiently and quietly. It works by circulating cool air through supply and return ducts.
However, keep in mind that replacing a central air conditioning system requires
a lot of planning. Or else you may end up with lower efficiency and higher utility bills.
| Best option to cool an entire house
||High cost to install
| Generally come with smart thermostats
||Results in higher energy bills
| Known to improve the air quality inside a house
||Requires regular duct maintenance
| Provides both cooling and heating
||Keeping uniform temperature can be difficult
- 6. Heat pumps
- Cost: $500 to $8,000
A heat pump works by pulling heat from the outside air or ground to warm your
home, or by pulling heat out of your house to cool it.
| Lower running costs
| Requires less maintenance
||High upfront cost
| Reduces carbon emissions
||Requires special planning permissions and permits
| Long lifespan
||Not suitable for extreme climates
- 7. Packaged central air conditioner
- Cost: $500 to $8,000
The evaporator, condenser and compressor come in a single, compact unit. It
works simply – ducts that run through exterior walls or the roof draw air from inside the house and
return cooled air indoors.
| Neat and compact
||More suitable for commercial buildings
| Ideal for homes with limited indoor space
||Has to be kept outside the house
| Pre-assembled parts
||Prone to leakages
| Easy installation and replacement
||May deteriorate over time due to exposure to rain and wind
The best way to replace an air conditioning system
in your house? Always plan ahead
For any home improvement project, it’s best to take care of a few things – for
your own peace of mind. Here are some steps to ensuring a seamless AC replacement:
- Maintain a realistic budget for the project.
- Learn about the energy-efficiency ratings of air conditioners and choose
an effective model.
- Discuss the correct location, angle tilt, replacement height and
appropriate distance from the wall for your new AC.
- Get a written contract from your HVAC contractor with the complete
schedule and payment details.
- Make sure that all permits and inspections are up to date.
- Be sure to get a warranty or guarantee from your AC installer.