Installation And Location Of Air Conditioners
If your air conditioner is installed correctly, or if major installation problems are found and fixed, it should perform efficiently for years with only minor routine maintenance. However, many air conditioners are not installed correctly. As an unfortunate result, modern energy-efficient air conditioners can perform almost as poorly as older inefficient models.
When installing a new central air conditioning system, be sure that your contractor:
- Allows adequate indoor space for the installation, maintenance, and repair of the new system
- Uses a duct-sizing methodology such as the Air Conditioning Contractors of America Manual D
- Ensures there are enough supply registers to deliver cool air and enough return air registers to carry warm house air back to the air conditioner
- Installs duct work within the conditioned space, not in the attic, wherever possible
- Seals all ducts with duct mastic and heavily insulates ducts
- Locates the condensing unit where its noise will not keep you or your neighbors awake at night, if possible
- Locates the condensing unit where no nearby objects will block airflow to it
- Verifies that the newly installed air conditioner has the exact refrigerant charge and airflow rate specified by the manufacturer
- Locates the thermostat away from heat sources, such as windows or supply registers.
What The Heck Are British Thermal Units Or Btus
An air conditioners cooling ability is typically measured in British Thermal Units, or BTUs. The higher the BTUs, the more powerful the air conditioner is. On average, an air conditioning unit needs about 20 BTUs per square foot of space to keep things cool, said McKeon. Its important to find a model thats efficient for your space, but keep in mind that more BTUs isnt always better.
- Cooling up to 250 square feet: 5,000 to 6,000 BTUs
- From 250 up to 350 square feet: 7,000 to 8,000 BTUs
- From 350 up to 450 square feet: 9,000 to 10,000 BTUs
- From 450 up to 550 square feet: 12,000 BTUs
Using an AC with the right amount of power is extremely important, Prouty said. A unit that is too powerful will cool the room too quickly. This is bad for two reasons: it wont do an efficient job of dehumidifying the room and it will cycle on and off too frequently, causing undue stress on the AC, which will cause it to break down prematurely. On the other hand, a unit thats not powerful enough wont cool the room down itll just run continuously, meaning your energy bill will be much higher than it would have been had you bought a portable AC that was the appropriate size, and itll break down early, too.
EnergyStar, a federal program promoting energy-efficient products, has its own guidelines to help you choose the right model. As BTU capacity increases, the weight and size of the model typically will, too.
Air Conditioner Prices By City & Region
Where you live can impact the cost of a new air conditioner for several reasons, and the main thing to look at is rural versus urban.
In rural areas, there usually arent as many HVAC contractors operating, and that means costs can be higher because theres less competition. By contrast, in suburban and urban areas, there are typically more contractors operating and competing for business, and this can drive down prices.
Furthermore, people in rural areas often have to travel long distances for goods and services, and that means an HVAC contractor is likely going to charge more. Not only do they have to use more fuel to get from their office to your home, but they also have to travel farther for supplies and materials, and the extra time and money gets passed on to the customer.
On the other hand, supplies and materials are generally closer and more accessible in suburban/urban areas. Plus, because there are more companies operating, contractors dont always have to travel as far to get from the office to the client.
There are other factors that come into play as well, such as whether you live in a wealthy area or a less affluent neighbourhood.
Lets look at some price estimates for air conditioners, with installation, in different regions across Canada:
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Carrier: Best Central Air Conditioners For Sheer Range
When it comes to choice, Carrier is one of the top brands on the market. With three series and 16 models, customers can find an air conditioning system to suit their needs and budget. Reliable and durable, units start from a SEER efficiency rating of 14 right up to the highest SEER rating of 21.
On the BBB, Carrier has an A+ rating, with 27 complaints in the past 12 months and 72 in the last three years. Most focus on labour costs on warranty repairs, which gain responses from Carrier, many with compensation. User reviews are mostly positive, such as: It’s efficient and cheaper to operate than the new Ruud gas system in my old condo. The only downside seems to be the high purchase costs of Carrier units and the cost of replacement parts.
Its models also run extremely quietly, with sound output as low as 65 decibels, so noise shouldnt be a nuisance.
As you would expect with such high quality, prices are more expensive. Its starting 13 SEER unit can cost around $3,100 with installation, while the premium, 21 SEER unit can reach up to $5,300. Although you can find cheaper units elsewhere, Carrier air conditioners are well built and known to last for years.
Furthermore, its high efficiency and in-built dehumidifier makes Carrier suitable for more hot and humid climates, and will likely contribute to a huge reduction to electric bills.
Best For Small Rooms: Midea 6000 Btu Doe Portable Air Conditioner
Courtesy of Amazon
Requires frequent draining
If you only have a small space to cool, this moderately priced Midea Portable Air Conditioner offers 6,000 BTU DOE, which is suitable for spaces up to 150 square feet. If you’re looking to cool a larger space, it also comes in several additional sizes, ranging up to 14,000 BTU. The unit has a 3-in-1 design that operates as an air conditioner, dehumidifier, or fan, and it offers a variety of settings, including a quiet Sleep Mode thats ideal for use in your bedroom.
The window bracket that comes with this air conditioner fits openings between 19.4 and 62.2 inches, and the unit has a 5-foot vent hose that lets you arrange it further away from the window, if needed. It has an LED display, as well as a remote control, and you can have it operate automatically with its 24-hour timer. However, this portable air conditioner does require regular draining, especially in humid climates, and this requires emptying the collected water into a bucket , your sink, or shower.
Type: Single hose | Cooling Area: 150 square feet | BTU: 6,000 DOE | Filter Type: Washable | Noise Level: Not listed | Energy Star Certified: No
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Best Budget: Serenelife Slpac8 8000 Btu Portable Air Conditioner
Courtesy of SereneLife
Cooling, dehumidifier, and fan modes
Comes in higher BTU versions
Only cools rooms up to 225 square feet
If you’re looking to quickly cool down a small room without spending too much money, consider the SereneLife SLPAC8 Portable Air Conditioner. This 8,000 BTU unit operates at a quiet 55 decibels, so it won’t interrupt your sleep or phone conversations, and if you need to turn it off, a remote control makes the process straightforward. This unit has a built-in dehumidifier as well as cooling and fan modes plus, its compact size and small wheels make it a breeze to move around your space.
While this SereneLife unit only cools rooms up to 225 square feet, it comes in five different versions, so you can opt for a higher BTU version or one that includes a heat setting if that better suits your space. However, customers note that the noise level significantly increases as the BTU increases.
Type: Single hose | Cooling Area: 225 square feet | BTU: 4,000 DOE/8,000 ASHRAE | Filter Type: Washable | Noise Level: 55-57 decibels | Energy Star Certified: No
Central Air Conditioner Warranties
The best central air conditioning units can be a costly element to integrate into your home, though they prove their worth in their ability to cool your home. Each AC brand has a conditional warranty, which requires you to register your appliance within a certain number of days in order to receive the cover. There is an exception to this however, as conditional warranties are not allowed in California or Quebec, and so will not apply.
If you can register your AC unit , you can expect a warranty that lasts at least 10 years. Some brands such as Amana, Trane, Coleman, and Goodman have guarantees that stretch over 12-years or to a lifetime on their high-end products. Without registering, you can expect your AC warranty to last for a lesser time period of around 5 years.
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Why Are Air Conditioners More Expensive These Days
If youve been keeping an eye on air conditioner prices over the past few years, then you may have noticed that the cost to buy a new system has increased quite a bit recently.
There are a number of reasons for the increase, and theyre the same reasons that costs have gone up for things like food, homes, fuel, utilities, and other consumer goods.
One of the main factors is the COVID-19 pandemic. It created labour shortages, delayed manufacturing, and disrupted the supply chain. At the same time, demand for a lot of consumer goods increased during the pandemic.
Moreover, a lot of people took advantage of the spare time they had during the lockdowns to dive head-first into home renovation projects, buy a new home, or move house. A lot of people, therefore, also wanted to upgrade their HVAC systems.
The increasing demand for goods coupled with the labour shortages and manufacturing/supply chain issues resulted in prices going up for manufacturers and consumers, and now you can expect to pay more for just about everything, including air conditioners.
Another consequence of this inflation is that prices have risen for contractors as well, so they also have to charge more for goods and services just to cover their own costs.
How Much Do New Central Air Conditioners Cost
The total cost of any central air conditioner is primarily comprised of 3 factors:
When we talk about how much does a central air conditioner costs, we talk about the unit + installation. According to Home Advisor, the central air conditioner system costs between $3,811 and $7,476. The national average is thus $5,638.
Some high-end 5 ton Trane air conditioners can cost more than $10,000 .
Other low-end smaller 2 ton central air conditioners can cost as little as $2,000.
When we will go through all the best central air conditioner brands, you will see the cost of installed units. Do keep in mind that those costs are only rough estimates with quite a big range the price of central air conditioner and installation does vary from state to state, from home to home, and from brand to brand.
Most homeowners would obviously prefer to pay less for a central air conditioner. Why should you choose Goodman or Trane central AC, if you can get some no-brand central AC unit for $2000 less?
For normal products, that logic makes complete sense. However, when it comes to choosing a central air conditioner, a long-lasting and recognizable brand is the safer choice altogether:
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Air Conditioner Prices By Efficiency Rating
While the brand you choose can certainly have an impact on the price you pay, ultimately, most central air conditioners are priced based on the efficiency rating.
In Canada, entry-level models will typically range from 13 -15 SEER or so mid-tier models are in the 16 17 SEER range and anything 18 SEER and above could be considered premium. That being said, air conditioning systems with efficiency ratings of 24 SEER and up do exist but are rare in Canada given the milder climate compared to the Southern United States, where these more expensive units are commonly available.
|A/C Efficiency Rating|
Emerson Quiet Kool 19s
The Emerson Quiet Kool 19S-EACH12R1W may not be the most powerful ductless air conditioner on this list, but it will be plenty powerful for a wide range of spaces. On top of that, itâs one of the cheapest on the market so you could save money by opting for this model.
This budget ductless air conditioner has enough power to effectively heat or cool spaces up to 550 square feet. Itâs a single zone model, so it can only be used to improve the airflow of one space.
This system has a good range of convenience features too. A digital display is useful for easy readout and ease-of-use while the WiFi connectivity allows for control via Alexa or Google Assistant. Along with features like auto defrosting and automated cleaning technology, as well as compressor intelligent pre-heating, this is a budget system that offers great value for money.
- Read our full Emerson Quiet Kool 19S-EACH12R1W review
Trane Central Air Conditioner
Trane® is one of the world leaders in heating and air conditioning systems, HVAC services, and solutions. Trane helps consumers to succeed by providing innovative solutions that optimize indoor air quality and efficiency through a broad portfolio of energy-efficient heating, central ventilating and air conditioning units, building, and energy services, parts support, and advanced controls system for many homes and commercial buildings.
Warranty: 10 years parts and condenserEnergy efficiency: Up to 16 SEERReasons to buy: One of the most durable 14 SEER AC | Range suits all needs saves almost 50% of cooling bill | quiet operation Reasons to avoid: Lower SEER ratings if not paired with the right evaporative coil | much Higher rate than other ACs
Average Rating: 9.4/10
Reaching up to 16 SEER when operating, this very durable AC unit will last almost double the age of a regular standard AC. The quiet fans reduce the maximum sound to only 72 Db which astonishingly low for a unit with this cost. It offers Multi stages of cooling which makes it adequate in cooling during different amounts of heat and humidity caused by climate. This unit has an energy star certificate and has an applicable 10% manufacturer rebate.
Comfortstar Central Air Conditioner
With over 60 years of industry combined experience, ComfortStar® is recognized worldwide as one of the leaders in providing heating and cooling products that are reliable, energy-efficient, innovative, and cost-effective. Our research and development team continues to develop products every year to reach higher quality standards as well as elevating the level of efficiency to protect our precious environment.
Warranty: 10 years parts and condenserEnergy efficiency: Up to 13.5 SEERReasons to buy: One of the Most affordably priced 13 SEER AC | Range suits all needs | relatively durable operationReasons to avoid: Not as durable or quiet as other AC units | Lower SEER ratings if not paired with the right evaporative coil
Average Rating: 9.3/10
This system uses a Single-stage 13 SEER central air conditioner condenser. The compressor is clothed in a heavy-gauge galvanized steel with gray powder paint finishes on the Fully louvered removable coil guard to protect the condenser surface. The unit is designed for easy access to service valves and electrical connections as well as providing easy access to fan motors without disconnecting wires. This is one of the best budget units in the market. The lower efficiency peak makes it more desirable only for colder climates.
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Remote Control And Timer
Many mini split air conditioners come with a remote control that allows you to adjust the temperature or turn the unit on and off from across the room. This is a particularly helpful feature if you plan to install the interior air handling unit in the ceiling or high up on the wall.
You may also want to consider a model that features a programmable timer. That allows you to choose specific temperatures for your room based on the time of day to help you save money.
Best Ventless: Hessaire Mc37m Portable Evaporative Cooler
Not effective in high humidity
If you live in a climate with low humidity, you can often use an evaporative cooler instead of a traditional air conditioner. The Hessair MC37M Evaporative Cooler can cool down an area up to 950 square feet, and its significantly more affordable than an air conditioner offering similar coverage. Plus, this lightweight unit is extremely straightforward to operate, and it can be hooked up to a garden hose for continuous filling and uninterrupted operation.
This evaporative cooler has three fan speeds and an oscillation option. It works by pulling hot air through a water-soaked filter using a fan to decrease the ambient temperature. It offers air flow up to 3,100 cubic feet per minute , and its 10.3-gallon water tank offers up to four hours of operation if you choose to manually fill it. While the Hessair Cooler is certainly a great value, it wont work well if you live somewhere with high humidity levels, and its also somewhat of an eyesore with a large, clunky design.
Cooling Area: 950 square feet | BTU: N/A | Filter Type: Not listed | Noise Level: 59 decibels | Window Size: N/A | Energy Star Certified: No
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Advanced Compressor/coil Technology And Designs
One of the ways that technology is improving air conditioners is by enabling manufacturers to build compressors and coils that are more efficient, more durable, and that have improved heat transfer. Here are the best air conditioners in Canada with special compressor and coil designs:
- Napoleon, along with York, Coleman, and Luxaire, all use microchannel coil technology, which refers to a special coil design that reduces air conditioner size, reduces refrigerant use, makes maintenance easier, and increases longevity.
- Ruud, Rheem, and Goodman all use Copeland scroll compressors from Emerson that increase both reliability and efficiency by eliminating the number of moving parts inside the compressor.
- American Standards Spine Fin Coil improves heat transfer and cooling output, and its also more corrosion-resistant than standard coils.
- Lennoxs Quantum Coil is a proprietary coil that uses a special aluminum alloy to produce a coil thats resistant to rust, corrosion, and moisture.
- Armstrongs MHT Technology refers to a special coil design that increases refrigerant flow, heat transfer, and efficiency by maximizing surface contact between the air and the coil.
- Tranes Spine Fin Coil is an all-aluminum coil that has been designed to maximize surface contact between the air and the metal in order to increase efficiency and heat transfer.