We often get asked questions, like… “What brand of air conditioner should I consider buying?”, “What’s the best brand?”, and, “Which AC Unit Should I Choose?”
Our answers to these questions usually catch people by surprise, “It’s not about the brand of air conditioner, but rather about picking the right contractor to install and service that AC.”
Your AC Brand Doesn’t Matter… That Much
See, most people believe that when they replace their central air conditioner, it’s much like buying a new refrigerator or other appliance. Nothing can be further than the truth. When you buy a refrigerator, the design and manufacturing was done to very tight standards in a controlled environment. Each unit off the line is exactly the same. You buy it, plug it in and BOOM – it works!
Your central heating and cooling system is not one contained unit that comes in a box, ready to plug in and use.
Your system is a series of individual components that are selected and configured by the HVAC contractor based on the size and capacity needed in your home. Regardless of of what kind of system you choose in terms of price, the system’s performance and fit for your home is also dependent on your contractor’s ability to size it to your home in terms of tonnage, recommend the best-case SEER rating for your budget, and install the system expertly. This is all part of why you should be researching the best contractor 10x more comprehensively than you research brands for your system. This is the bigger decision.
Understanding the “MPG” of Your AC System
One of the primary decisions you need to make during your purchase process is just how energy-efficient you want it to be. Again, your contractor will have the knowledge to help you balance out your SEER and your budget. Keep in mind: the higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the product – in turn, the higher the cost. Once the system is installed, then it is time to erase the factory settings* and fine tune for performance.
*According to local and national studies, the typical central heating and air conditioning system operates at less than 2/3 of its advertised capacity. This means, if you bought a 3-ton system and it was not fine-tuned, you could be actually getting less than 2 tons of capacity delivered to your home, all while paying to operate a 3-ton system for the next 15 years. It’s like buying a Prius to get 50 miles to the gallon and getting less than 25.
We believe in whole-house thinking and any other HVAC contractor you work with should, too. The concept of whole-house thinking is essentially that in order for your HVAC system components to function at capacity and serve you well, they depend on things like the framework and reliability of your ductwork, how well your home is ventilated, and the modernity and upkeep of your thermostat – plus filtration. These are all major factors in your new system delivering on the “home comfort” you were promised. Again, the configuration has a huge impact on how you enjoy your new system which relies on the capabilities and the consideration of your contractor – so choose wisely!
As you perform your research on the best brands of air conditioner this year, don’t forget to consider deeply who will be performing that installation. If you want the best in the Austin area, choose McCullough Heating and Air Conditioning. Call us today to install your new system: (512) 866-9821