Choosing a central air conditioner for your home means taking your time to consider a lot of different features in an air conditioner; you don't want one that is underpowered even if it saves money on the purchase price, as this can mean not cooling your home properly. On the other hand, you don't want the most expensive model on the market as it may be too big and may cost more to operate. Note a few factors to keep in mind to help you choose the best central air conditioner for your home.
Choosing the size
You can find many online charts that tell you the best size of air conditioner for your home; this usually means the BTUs, or British Thermal Units, which refers to the cooling capacity of an air conditioner. However, you need to go beyond a standard chart and consider your home specifically; are you in a warmer climate than average so the air conditioner will need to work harder? Do you tend to cook a lot and, in turn, generate lots of heat from the kitchen? Is your home without shade trees? These things can mean that investing in a larger unit will be better for your home in particular.
A central air conditioner is rated by what is called the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, or SEER. The higher the SEER number, the more energy efficient the model. These may be more expensive to purchase but they will mean using less electricity to run the unit over time; the money you save in utility bills can compensate for the higher purchase price.
The cabinet of a central air conditioner is what houses the fan and motor and which covers the compressor, the part that creates cold air that gets circulated through your home. An aluminum cabinet can be very lightweight and inexpensive, but note that it may be more prone to getting dented and dinged during inclement weather, or from flying rocks and debris that often hit a cabinet when you mow the lawn. In turn, the parts inside the cabinet can get damaged.
It may be better to shop for a full steel cabinet that is tougher and more durable and which may offer more protection for the inside parts. These might be heavier so that you need a cement pad for the cabinet underneath, but this can be worth that added expense if it means avoiding unnecessary repairs because of a thin, lightweight cabinet.