Buying a New Air Conditioner for Your Commercial Building
When the inevitable finally happens and your air conditioner fails, you’ll be faced with buying a new air conditioner that will meet the cooling needs of your building. As you consider the many types of air conditioners that are available, keep in mind the following features that can mean better air conditioner efficiency and performance. They’ll help you save money and improve indoor comfort with your new air conditioner.
Buying a new air conditioner for a commercial facility can be costly, but it is unwise to restrict your options any more than necessary because of price. A lower-cost air conditioner may be a bargain, but it could also be a burden over time if it requires more repair to keep it running. If lower-cost air conditioners are also of lower quality, they could fail much sooner than a higher-priced model. If possible, buy your new air conditioner in the off season when prices may be lower. Also check for any rebates or discounts offered by your dealer or the manufacturer. High-efficiency models may qualify for state incentives that reduce the cost of the system.
The efficiency of your new air conditioner will determine how much you pay for cooling each month. High-efficiency models produce excellent cooling at a lower price. In many cases, it’s possible to recover the cost of the air conditioner in monthly savings along by about the halfway point of the system’s expected lifespan. Look for high SEER (seasonal energy efficiency rating) numbers to get the best efficiency. New air conditioners must have a SEER of at least 13, but high-efficiency models should carry a SEER of 16 or higher.
There are several components you can add to a new air conditioner that will increase it’s efficiency and cut operating costs even further. These include dual-stage compressors that include a lower, money-saving operating level; variable-speed motors that can run at different levels depending on how much cooling is needed; and a fan-only switch that turns off the compressor and allows you to use the system for ventilation only.
You must have an air conditioner that is properly sized to provide enough cooling for your commercial building. Size refers to the air conditioner’s functional capacity and how much cooling it can produce. A too-small air conditioner will work harder than necessary and will not generate enough cooling. A too-large system will waste energy and money by producing too much cooling. Have your HVAC pro do a load calculation to determine how much cooling your facility will need. With this information, it will be easier to choose an air conditioner that is the correct size.
When it’s time to buy a new air conditioner, take a look at the HVAC system ductwork. This important network of pipes carries all the cooled air produced by your air conditioner, so it’s vital that it be properly designed, thoroughly sealed, and sufficiently insulated. Leaks in the ductwork can let hundreds of dollars of cool air escape, which will drive up your cooling bills and waste energy. It may also be possible that you need to revise or reroute the ductwork to get better performance. When your HVAC pro installs your new air conditioner, use this as an opportunity for a full inspection of the ductwork.
Consider getting a maintenance contract from the company that installs your new air conditioner. These agreements ensure that preventive maintenance is performed on time, which keeps your air conditioner running at its best. They can also offer additional benefits such as discounts on parts or labor, priority service, or access to other specials.
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