The heat is on. Time to turn on the air conditioners to prevent tempers from seething, and to avoid being roasted in the scorching summer heat, or worse, suffer a heatstroke especially during the day. These appliances are a necessity especially in places, such as Brisbane, Australia, Charlotte, North Carolina (NC); Las Vegas, Nevada; Los Angeles and Sacramento, California; Tampa, Jacksonville, Miami, Yulee, and Orlando, Florida (FL); Tucson, Arizona; Oklahoma; or Dallas and Houston, Texas, where summer really sizzles. Air conditioning is indispensable in other hot countries like Pakistan and the Philippines. The blistering climate in India has also led a number of companies there to come up with their own brands of air conditioning (I have also heard referres to as: air con in some parts of the world), such as Godrej, Voltas, Videocon, o General and ONIDA, which you can switch on even while you are not home yet using SMS.
Places with milder summers, such as Nashville, Tennessee, Denver, Colorado, Louisville, KY, San Jose and San Diego, California, Indianapolis, Indiana, Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta City, Georgia, may be comfortable in their non-airconditioned home. Nevertheless, they still need an HVAC system to help them weather the swings of the season especially during the cold months of winter.
We usually take air conditioning for granted especially when everything is functioning well. We owe air conditioning to Willis Carrier from Syracuse, New York, who invented the first electrical air conditioning. The initial use of this first system was more for industries, such as in a printing plant and later on in other workplaces. It was only later that air conditioning was also used for residential comfort as well as in automobiles.
Like exploring a gallery of air conditioners in an appliance center or in an HVAC specialist office, let us take a look at some of the types and brands that are indispensable during the warmest season of the year. We will also look at some of the factors to consider to help you compare and buy the right model.
With countless brands inundating the market, you may already be pulling your hair while trying to decide which air conditioning system to buy. Besides making a choice between one brand vs another, you also have to choose what type of system you would be installing, from window-fitted, floor-mounted, split type, or the one with variable refrigerant flow system. Brands with VRF systems include Toshiba, Fujitsu, Daikin, Mitsubishi, Hitachi, Sanyo and Panasonic.
Your contractor may also have various ways of installation. For instance, a contractor in Toronto, Ontario is offering the Attic Pak systems, which are low velocity AC systems ideal for homes without duct work or for homes with forced air and with more than two stories. A condensing unit is installed outside the home, then the lines from the unit is extended up to the attic where an air handler is positioned. The latter controls the flow of cold air into the house via 5, 6 or 7-inch outlets. This type of system is known to consume less energy and be more quiet.
To help with (or further complicate) your buying decision process, here are some more central air conditioning brands and models to add to your list:
The last, Janitrol, has been receiving a pile of negative rating and reports online. Examples of specific central air conditioning models that are more energy efficient are the Lennox XC16, Lennox XC21 (the most efficient and quietest central air conditioner you can buy), LG Ductless Multi-Zone air conditioning system, Carrier Infinity Series, and the American Standard Gold XI (also known as the Allegiance® 15). Research them online so that you can make an intelligent comparison review.
When deciding on which central air conditioning system to buy, consumers often stew over features, pricing and brands. Naturally, you would want to get your money’s worth so you check performance vis-a-vis price. But there is another key factor that often fails to get much consideration - the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning contractor to hire. No matter how expensive the air conditioning system you buy, or what brand you have installed, if the contractor you hire lacks the expertise, you can still possibly end up losing your cool over your purchase. For instance, a competent contractor must be able to give you an intelligent answer if you ask him if installing a 220 Volt air conditioner costs less or helps you to decrease electric consumption as compared to using a 100-volt type.
So make sure that when you read each of their profile, you also know how to screen a reputable contractor. Consider the advice of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) in their website on how to choose a contractor including tips on what to ask prospective contractors and a checklist of what contractors ought to do in servicing their customers, since not all of them perform all the necessary tasks. The site also includes a scoring system that allows you to rate each prospect. Another organization that can help you with choosing a contractor to install your central air conditioning system is the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
Besides being installers, most likely these contractors are also dealers of spare or replacement parts and supplies, such as scroll compressors, capacitors, registers or vents with a damper, refrigerant hose, decorative ducts, the thermostat, wiring, fan motor oil, and other accessories that you may need, such as air conditioner covers (e.g. quilted cover, lattice cover, an exterior air conditioner cover, or Poly air condition cover), filters (e.g. disposable pleated air filter, washable and reusable air filter, metal air filter, HEPA filter, or a scented air filter), wall sleeves (e.g. Haier Through-The-Wall Sleeve or HTTWS), and support brackets. They also typically carry other air quality control devices, such as dehumidifiers. So when replacing any of these parts, you may need to contact your contractor.
One brand filters that you may consider is the 3M Filtrete. It boasts of electrostatic technology that attracts, thus, helps to get rid of the contaminants and hazardous particles from the air that is circulated indoors. This means comfort for a person who suffers asthma or an allergy. These air filters come in various sizes; pick one based on the type and size of the air conditioning system or furnace.
You will also be needing the services of your expert contractor for cleaning, periodic maintenance and repairs especially if you do not know how to troubleshoot the problem. Nonetheless, you may also want to learn DIY troubleshooting techniques when your AC is not running properly. Make the manuals your guide in obtaining a basic understanding of how the system works by studying them, including any instruction for troubleshooting and the diagram of the system. Common problems that you may encounter include: water leaking from the air conditioner into the room; central AC not cooling even if the condenser outside the house is working; the unit is blowing a bad smell or is blowing hot instead of cold air; and when your air conditioner is freezing. Let your contractor fix problems that you cannot handle.
Depending on your knack for thermodynamics and fixing appliances, there are certain air conditioning problems that you can do yourself. For example, your air conditioners may stop working or loss its cooling capacity. If you read the manual, you may learn that one possible cause for this is when the starting capacitor, located on the outside compressor or condenser unit, is defective. One of the troubleshooting techniques that technicians employ when an electrical motor does not start, whether an air conditioning compressor motor, a refrigerator pump, blower motor, or freezer motor, is to simply install a simple and cheap starting capacitor to give the appliance an extra voltage jolt to get the hard-starting motor to run.
There are a good deal of contractors available to install, replace, service, clean ducts, balance air and maintain your AC system. Here is a list of some of these contractors and their respective place of operation:
A-11 Air conditioning in Fort Worth, Texas
Blue Air in Austin, Texas
EZ Air Conditioning and Heating in San Antonio, Texas
Polar Air Conditioner Repair Corp. in Hollywood, Florida
Holiday Air Conditioning in Fort Myers, Florida
Del-Air for homeowners in Macclenny, Florida
Jim’s Air Conditioning in Crestville, FL
Bel-Red Heating and Conditioning in Washington
Polar Bear Air Conditioning and Heating in Washington DC
Level Heating in Baltimore
Magic Touch Mechanical Inc. in Mesa, Arizona
Yellow Dot in Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina
Air Wave Air Conditioning Company in New York City (NYC)
Willis One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning in Kentucky and Ohio
Sears Heating and Cooling Sales, Service and Repair in Hillyard, Washington
Scottsdale Air Heating and Cooling in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Tempe, Paradise Valley and the entire West Valley
Custom Air Conditioning in Canada
Frost Air in Sydney, Australia
Choose one which is nearest you. It would also be in your best interest to make sure that the contractor offers a warranty for their installation job so that at times when you encounter problems, such as a leak from your unit, they can service it free of charge while it is still covered by the warranty.
The favorite type of air conditioning unit to cool small areas or single rooms is the window air conditioner. Some brands of room and window air conditioners you can choose from are: Hampton Bay, Maytag, Frigidaire, MIRA-Cool, Sunbeam, Sunpentown, Goldstar, GE, QuietMaster, Samsung, Whirlpool and the market leader in wall-mounted ACs - Bard.
Some specific models of these appliances are the:
Carrier 51PH models
Kenmore 76081 and 73069
Zenith 6500 with remote control
Haier AC, Zoneaire DMA models
the Sharp Plasmacluster AP7GSY
Frigidaire FAA055P7a and FAA065P7a
Frigidaire's FRA084KT7 8,000 BTU Slider/Casement Air Conditioner
Friedrich WS16B30 27in Thru the Wall AC
Friedrich Wallmaster WS14B10, WS08B10A, WS10B10A, WS13B30B, WS16B30A, 5200 BTU
If you are looking for a cheap brand, consider the Frigidaire FRA52XT 75,000 BTU Mini Window Air Conditioner. If you prefer an energy efficient and environmentally-friendly unit, consider the Haier ESAD4066 Paragon Eco-Conditioner 6,000-BTU Energy-Star Window Air Conditioner or the solar hybrid model of LG that you can power by charging it through its solar panel. Another solar-powered air conditioner is the SplitCool DC18 DC air conditioner, which efficiently converts DC power from solar panels into AC power to operate a standard air conditioner without the need for an inverter to convert solar DC current into AC current. It can come as 12-, 24-, and 48-volt powered units. Do not forget to recharge its 12 VDC battery to make sure that you have enough power especially if you plan to turn your air con on at night. Battery requirements and recharging time will vary depending on local sunlight conditions and the specific use of the air conditioner.
To go the extra mile in protecting the environment while cooling your home, you may also opt for units that use Puron refrigerant, a refrigerant engineered so as not to damage the ozone layer. It is an approved substitute for Freon 22.
When installing a window air conditioner, do not forget to buy the brackets to support it. For window units that are between 12000 and 24000 BTU, the 160-lb Air conditioner brackets can ably support them.
You bet, there are many different brands & models of air conditioners, so it can make the buying decision process very difficult. You have to do a lot of research to compare and choose from the various models that appeal to you. You can also visit local HVAC specialists and other shops that sell air conditioners, such as Home Depot. Another way to test drive the particular model that you are eyeing is to rent it from a rental shop so that you can get a feel of its features and performance especially if your stay in your current place is not yet permanent. You can also find many air conditioning rentals online.
Another important detail to consider when installing an air conditioning system (whether for ACs that you mount on windows, AC for windowless rooms, for vertical sliding windows, the horizontal type, split type, central air, or whatever type) is the size and cooling capacity of the unit, which is a function of the space you are planning to allot for. The space that could be handled by a certain air conditioner or its cooling capacity is measured in British Thermal Units (BTU) per hour. For an area that ranges from 100 to 150 square feet, the BTU of the air conditioner should be 5000 BTUs. For 150 to 250 square feet it should be 6000 BTUs, 7000 BTUs for 250 to 300 square feet, 8000 BTUs for 300 to 350, 9000 BTUs for 350 to 400 square feet, 10000 BTUs for 400 to 450, 14000 BTUs for 550 to 700 (your 4-ton AC), 18000 BTUs for 700 to 1,000 square feet and 24000 BTUs for 1000 to 1400 square feet. Sizing air conditioners according to the space needing cooling is made easier with the use of an air conditioner calculator.
Besides room or window air conditioners, here are some other uses for portable air conditioners, which can be used to condition the air in specific spaces such as rooms with specific sizes and particular spots that need additional and continuous cooling, such as in bigger rooms in larger residential homes, to cool computer systems that cry for more cooling in offices or in a data center or the local library and in any commercial environment, to ventilate a grow room, or to cool certain machinery in an industrial setting. The ventless type can condition the room without needing to vent out to an outdoor unit. One type of portable air conditioners is the desktop air conditioner which you can simply mount on your office desk should you need extra cooling. Humidifiers may also be used to get rid of excess humidity, but it cannot completely dry the air. Portable air conditioners are compact making it easy when moving it from one area to another allowing it to be used in any part of your home or building. They can be narrow and can stand in vertical position to save space. A portable air conditioner may also be used during an emergency or in an automobile, or even in a boat, and can be very handy for an RV camper.
Soleus PH3-12R Air is claiming to be the number 1 portable air conditioner supplier in the US. Other models of these compact coolers are the:
Edgestar Server Cool
Friedrich ZoneAir P12A
Whynter 12000 and 14000 BTU
Royal Sovereign ARP 1000ex and ARP 4012h 12000 BTUs
Sunpentown WA1061H SlimLine which comes with a heater (10000 BTU).
Amcor NanoMax A12000E, AF9000E, ALTL12000E, ALT12000E, PLM14000e, PLM16000e and KF9000e
Other brands include Danby, Everstar, Kooleraire, Windchaser, and Midea.
When using a portable air conditioner, make sure to have the exhaust hose that leads out of the house insulated so that outside air does not get back into the interior of the room.
One unique portable air conditioner is the Coolware Personal Outdoor Cooling System which is worn around the neck. It is also known as a neck cooler mini air conditioner. It's constructed of Anodized aluminum and may be one of the smallest air conditioners. Another personal air conditioner is called ICEflow, which employs the environmentally-friendly Peltier Effect to allow you to feel a 74 degree breeze every time the room temperature rises up to 80 degrees, without the need to add ice. A free-standing compartment, where water freezes into a block of real ice after charging overnight, is inside this gizmo. When the fan is turned on, the cooling breeze flows across an ice-cold chilling plate.
Goodman is one of the long-standing brands in the air conditioners and heaters business. It got many good reviews from its users but many consumers also rated it negatively. Now, let us focus this discussion on a specific Goodman model - the Goodman GSX13 Series 13 SEER R-410A 3.0 Ton 36,000 BTU
This model boasts of high performance of up to 8.4 HSPF/13 SEER energy heating performance and even durability for heavy duty use. It uses the chlorine-free R-104A refrigerant, a high-efficiency condenser coil constructed from corrugated aluminum fins and rifled refrigeration-grade copper tubing, a factory-installed bi-flow, liquid line filter dryer, and a louvered cabinet constructed from heavy-gauge galvanized steel that safeguards the coil. The casing has an appliance quality finish that can withstand the effects of time and any weather condition.
With over 80 years of solid tract record, Trane is among the biggest manufacturers of air conditioning products across the world. Their products include air conditioners, furnaces or heat pumps that are designed to provide comfort and efficiency. Some of its air conditioning variants include the XE1000 series for the residential market. Other models include Trane XR12 and XR13 models.
If you are planning to buy an air conditioning unit and are looking forward to a sale or rebates to make some savings, consider Trane’s Anticipation Discount Financing. This program allows you to reduce the cost of purchase and available of an affordable financing rate if you pay before the product is shipped. The final discount is determined by such factors as the payment amount, the date of payment, the discount rate, and the date the unit is shipped.
Besides manufacturing and selling individual air conditioning units, heat pumps, gas and oil furnaces, air handlers, cooling coils, and thermostats, this leading global producer or heating, cooling and heating water products also produce and sell packaged heating and cooling units, wherein all heating and cooling elements are conveniently found in a single cabinet, and are usually installed either on top or beside a house or office building, rather than indoor.
Ductless split air conditioners and heat pumps are produced by Mitsubishi. This Japanese brand has been providing a broad range of power options, which are all produced with one of the highest seasonal energy efficient rating (SEER). The SEER of the M-Series Mr. Slim split system air conditioner and heat pump is 22, almost double that of the minimum requirement. The higher the SEER, the more energy efficient the unit is, thus, helping you cut on energy costs. Another air conditioning unit by Mitsubishi is the Mitsubishi Heavy Daiya.
The need for cool comfortable air extends outside the home, offices and buildings. Hence, the use of air automotive air conditioners for automobiles, such as the car, bus, recreational vehicles (RV) boats and yacht. Sanden is a major brand in mobile air conditioning. Coleman, previously known as Evcon, is a popular brand for RV air conditioning that is usually installed on the roof of the RV, such as the Coleman Mach 15, and the Coleman Polar Cub. Other brands are Duo Therm and Dometic, which also produces air conditioners for marine vessels. Coleman and Duo Therm each have their own versions of shroud to house the RV rooftop AC units.