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About 27% of food in developed countries are wasted each year. It's simply thrown away.

Tips for Buying an Air Conditioner

by Sierra A. Martin

The summer months are approaching fast. Now is the time to begin the search for the most energy efficient air conditioner that will save you money and satisfy your families’ needs.

When choosing an air conditioner you must accurately measure the square footage of the area to insure the air is dehumidified and distributed with cooled dry air properly. The air conditioner that is too small will run all the time and not be able to sufficiently cool the required area in the warmest months. The air conditioner that is too large will cool too quickly and will run less – thus not long enough to thoroughly dehumidify the air, leading to a high level of moistness that will eventually turn to mold and mildew.

There are two main types of air conditioners -- the split system air conditioner and the package system air conditioner. The split system has a condensing unit outside of the home and the evaporator coil is inside the “air handler,” located somewhere in the home, most generally in the attic, garage, or closet area. The second main air conditioner unit available is the package system. This is a single outdoor unit usually found on manufactured homes or older homes lacking in interior space for the “air handler”.

The least common air conditioner is the room system that is paced in a window, wall mounted, or portable. These unites are designed for single room use or a larger open area, unlike the alternate united no duct work is required; instead they rely on the open air flow in its location, a fan, and a blower system. Here are preliminary air conditioner suggestions for energy efficiency and saving money.

800 – 1000 sq. ft. 2.0 Ton
1000 – 1200 sq. ft. 2.5 Ton
1200 – 1500 sq. ft. 3.0 Ton
1500 – 1800 sq. ft. 3.5 Ton
1800 – 2000 sq. ft. 4.0 Ton
2000 – 2500 sq. ft. 5.0 Ton

* Please note these are only rule of thumb and a professional should be consulted.

Keeping in mind also that the recommended guidelines can differ significantly from state to state, in addition to skylights, types of insulation, number of south facing windows and the shade trees surrounding the home.

Currently there are regulations in affect that require air conditioners to establish Operating Cost Efficiency. These operating cost efficiencies also known as BTU’s will save you money when used properly. BTU’s measure the heat removed for the area being cooled in relation to the wattage needed.

Always look at the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) -- the higher the number, the greater the amount of efficiency your air conditioner will bring. Central air condition units that meet the highest standards set by CEE (Construction for Energy Ratio) will need to be a minimum of 12.5 and the SEER of 14 or more.

When replacing an existing air conditioner keep in mind if there have been changes such as new windows added or room additions. These signal a need for a “complete Load calculation” to establish the exact requirements for your new air conditioner. When purchasing a simple room unit consult with a knowledgeable sales consultant and know the exact room dimensions of the area you wish to cool.

When you are updating a central air conditioner or a split air conditioner please seek out a minimum of three bids on the project. Never accept a project bid over the phone as this is truly the sign of a non-professional. Keeping in mind the lowest price may not include labor and the length of warranty many be significantly less then other competitors. Warranties can range from a year to four years and your air conditioner when used properly can have approximately a 10 year life spam. It is always best to ask for references and make sure the company you choose is both bonded and insured.

Under the tax guidance of the IRS for the years 2006/2007, our government is offering an income tax credit up to $500 for air conditioners that meet certain qualifications. The air conditioner must be installed in the primary residence of the tax payer that is currently occupied by the home owner. This specific tax credit would exclude new construction as they have a separate “new home tax credit”.

Using these tips will save you money when operating your new air conditioner:

• Set your room temperature at 78 degrees or higher when using your air conditioner.
• You will save approximately 4% on every additional degree higher you keep your thermostat.
• Use your set-back feature on the programmable air conditioner system, when you return home you will enjoy the comfortable condition
• Make sure to use a thermostat indicating temperature in degrees or if necessary substitute a room thermometer to add extra assurance you air conditioner is operating at its most effective nature.

Summer is just around the corner and that new air conditioner is only going to make those warm months even more enjoyable. After all if you’re going to allocate money for that new air conditioner, you should know that you made the right investment. The right investment always saves you money.

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