During the hot summer days, a reliable air conditioner makes a big difference in your ability to regulate your indoor air temperatures. If you want to choose the best air conditioner to have installed in your home, there are many factors you must consider. For instance, the size of your home determines how large the unit can be. There are also numerous types of air conditioners that might be of interest to you. With an in-depth buyer’s guide in hand, you should have everything you need to buy the right system.

Ductless Air Conditioner Types

Instead of using a large duct system, ductless air conditioners have several points of contact that push air through your home. There are a few different types of ductless air conditioners to consider.

Mini-split Units

Mini-split systems often consist of multiple units that are positioned in different areas around the home. These units are equipped with a heat pump and mounted fan to deliver cooling in the surrounding area. If you’re considering a mini-split system, keep in mind that they oftentimes have high efficiency, which means that your monthly energy bills should be relatively low.

Window or Portable Units

Window units are small systems that are installed on a windowsill. They work by pulling air into the system before blowing it into your home. The back of this system is positioned towards the window to ensure condensation doesn’t build up inside your home. Portable units are like window units because of their ability to only cool one room. These units often come with wheels and need to be routinely drained. Portable and window units lack the efficiency of HVAC systems, leading to higher energy bills.

Evaporative Coolers

Evaporative coolers are much less common than their ductless counterparts. While most air conditioners work as dehumidifiers, evaporative coolers are designed to place moisture in the air, which leads to a cool but damp feeling in the room. These systems don’t recycle air but instead push air into your home from outside. Make sure that you only use this type of unit if you live in a low-humidity climate.

One reason to select an evaporative cooler is that it doesn’t cost much to run. However, the maintenance requirements are relatively high. Since the system adds moisture to indoor air, it’s important to have a constant supply of water as well.

Ducted Air Conditioner Types

Ducted air conditioners use a complex system of ducts to move air throughout the home, which means that only one indoor unit is needed regardless of the type of system you choose.

Central Air Conditioners

Central air conditioners are whole-home solutions that can deliver air to every room with a vent. When the indoor air temperature moves above the preset temperature on your thermostat, the system turns on. The indoor unit’s fan pulls warm air from the home. This air is pushed through several filters to ensure most airborne contaminants are removed. Once the air moves over a cold evaporator coil, it is cooled by the liquid refrigerant. A blower fan will then send this cool air into your home through the ducts.

Geothermal and Traditional Heat Pumps

While it might seem like heat pumps are only capable of sending heat into a home, these systems can also function as air conditioners when they operate in reverse. As for geothermal heat pumps, they use a series of underground pipes to push air to the soil that’s positioned below your home. These systems are more environmentally friendly than some of the other options at your disposal. However, upfront costs are often high. Geothermal units also come with a complex installation process, which is why this process is best left to a professional.

Primary Factors to Consider

Before you buy an air conditioner, there are numerous factors you should consider to ensure you make the right decision. Here are some of the most common considerations.

Efficiency and Capacity

Over the past two decades, air conditioners have improved significantly in efficiency and capacity. Modern air conditioners are tied to a rating system that determines how energy efficient they are. If you want an efficient unit, look for ones with SEER ratings between 15 and 23. A higher rating means that the unit is more efficient.

As for capacity, the air conditioner you buy should be able to cool the space effectively. Capacity is usually measured with British thermal units (BTUs). A higher BTU rating indicates that the system has a higher capacity. Professional HVAC technicians can tell you what capacity is necessary for your home.

Home Comfort

One factor that should always be considered is how well the air conditioner cools your home and keeps you comfortable. Different components can add to your comfort levels. For instance, UV light can eliminate certain airborne contaminants, which helps maintain your indoor air quality.

Maintenance Requirements

Air conditioners oftentimes require routine maintenance to keep performance high. Different types of air conditioners have different maintenance requirements. Consider how often you want to have your system maintained when you’re making a purchase. It’s possible to set up a service plan when scheduling installation.

Programmable Thermostat Availability

If you want to gain more control over your indoor air temperature, consider buying a system that’s compatible with programmable thermostats. These devices give you the ability to manage your home’s cooling from an app on your smartphone. A programmable thermostat helps you save money by turning your system off when it’s not being used.

System Size

The system you buy for your home should be the right size. If you purchase a large unit, you might not have enough room for it. It’s also possible that an improperly sized unit could result in certain inefficiencies when it comes to cooling your home’s indoor air.

If the equipment is too large, it may go through cycles too often, which reduces the system’s lifespan. An AC technician can help you determine what size is best for your home. The technician’s recommendation will likely depend on such factors as sun exposure, insulation, ceiling height, and tree coverage.


Consider obtaining a manufacturer’s warranty or contractor’s warranty when buying an air conditioner. Warranties are beneficial when a component breaks and you need to have it replaced. New units may automatically come with a limited manufacturer’s warranty.

Additional Indoor Air Quality Components

Indoor air quality components include everything from high-efficiency capabilities to humidifiers. These add-ons may be available when you first purchase the system or can be provided as add-ons from the installation contractor you hire.

Contact Us

Are you looking to buy a new air conditioner for your Metuchen, NJ home? Whether you need advice to make the right purchase or want to have your new AC unit installed, our team at First Choice Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning is here to help. When you request our installation services, you’ll benefit from excellent workmanship, a transparent process, dedicated customer service, and personalized solutions.

If your current air conditioner is broken, call us immediately to ensure you’re not left without cool air for too long. Our air conditioner services extend to maintenance and repair solutions as well. When you schedule our services, consider signing up for our maintenance plan. We also offer indoor air quality and plumbing services to both residential and business clients in Metuchen and the surrounding areas. Contact First Choice Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning today to learn more!

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