How to Choose an Air Conditioner
                          As summer is quickly approaching, many homeowners are
                          considering the purchase of a new central Air Conditioning system.
                          A new, high efficiency, central Air Conditioning system can provide
                          a significant energy savings over older systems as well as increase
                          comfort during the hot, sticky months of summer. However,
                           choosing a new system can be difficult with the multitudes of companies
and options. Since buying a new central Air Conditioning system is a sizable investment, it
is very important that you choose a reputable company to install the system. Some of the
best ways to determine if a company is reputable is to ask for customer references, check
with the Better Business Bureau and visit the company in person. By personally visiting a
company, it will help you determine what kind of operation the company runs and if it is
the type of company that you want to do business with.

When considering the different options available in a new central Air Conditioning system,
there are two main options to consider; the SEER Rating and the type of refrigerant used
to operate the unit.

SEER Rating
The SEER rating (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) is a similar type of rating system as
is used to measure the energy efficiency of a Furnace. Typical SEER ratings range
between 13-21 SEER for new air conditioners. The higher the SEER rating, the greater
the energy efficiency. Currently, the Government mandates a minimum of a 13 SEER
rating to increase energy efficiency nationwide for air conditioners.

Many older homes have central Air Conditioning systems that are operating at a SEER
rating of 6 below. By replacing an older central Air Conditioning system with a new high
efficiency system, homeowners can reduce energy bills by up to 50% during the summer
months. Now is a great time to replace old, inefficient units.

Refrigerant Type
There are two main types of refrigerants, R-22 and R-410. In 1990, the United States
passed the Clean Air Act that required the phasing out of all chlorine-based refrigerants.
R-22, a chlorine-based refrigerant, has been standard in residential air conditioners for
many years. Since it is not an environmentally friendly refrigerant, it will be phased out
over the next decade.

By 2010, no new air conditioners will use R-22. By 2020, the manufacturing of R-22 will
be completely banned. In the meantime, the cost to maintain an R-22 air conditioner will
go up dramatically. A similar situation occurred with air conditioners in cars. R-12
refrigerant was the standard used in cars at the time but was phased out starting in 1990.
Seven years later, the cost of R-12 refrigerant had increased 650%.     

Although it costs more initially, air conditioners that use R-410 refrigerant will be much
less expensive to maintain over the life of the air conditioner and are more environmentally
friendly. Additionally, since most air conditioners last between 15-20 years, you will not
have to worry about it becoming obsolete in the future.

Although choosing a new central Air Conditioning system can seem challenging, remember
to always compare systems with the same options and make sure that you are working
with a reputable company.

I have had the opportunity to work with
Doug Krahl and I would recommend him
without reservation. He evaluate the
bedroom above our garage which was
cold in the winter. H e provided us with
an economical and swift solution to the
problem and now the bedroom is warm
and more importantly, livable.

Neelam Rozanski
Wheaton, IL.
Air Conditioners
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