For those of us in northern climates, the return of summer temperatures is always welcome. Until it gets too hot – or humid – that is. That’s when proper air conditioning can bring some needed relief.

Choosing the best air conditioning system for your home is an important decision. It will not only affect your comfort, but also your energy costs for years to come.

The best air conditioning systems are:

  • Energy efficient
  • Budget-friendly
  • Reliable, requiring low maintenance and repairs
  • Long-lasting
  • The correct size for your home

This last consideration is where you may need an experienced contractor to advise you. It’s obvious that if a unit is too small, it won’t effectively cool your home. Surprisingly, a unit that is too big is also inefficient, for it will cycle on and off more than necessary, wasting energy and putting undue strain on the compressor.

The cooling capacities of different systems are measured in Btu/h (British thermal units of heat removed per hour) or refrigeration tons (one ton equal to 12,000 Btu/h). A good contractor will determine the best unit for your home by taking into consideration many factors besides just the size of your house, including:

  • Your home’s insulation
  • Floor space
  • Heat-generating appliances
  • Window dimensions and exposure
  • Direction your home faces
  • Landscaping, including how much your house may be shaded by trees
  • Local climate

Whew – see why you need the advice of an experienced contractor?

Now, back to the very first consideration: energy efficiency. Manufacturers are required to evaluate and rate their equipment for energy efficiency. The higher the SEER number (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating), the more efficient the unit. Many new homes are equipped with units with an average SEER of 13. A Ruud Ultra Series High Efficiency model has a SEER of 18. When it comes time to replace your old unit, you may find that a Ruud high-efficiency model, while initially more expensive, will more than pay for itself in the long run with energy cost savings. Not to mention the benefit to the environment!

After energy efficiency, the most important consideration is the quality of the parts that make up the unit. A well-built unit will last longer and require fewer repairs, both of which save you money – and inconvenience! The compressor is the hard-working heart of the unit and all Ruud residential models contain highly advanced scroll compressors, recognized as the best in the industry for their efficiency, reliability, and quiet operation. The housing of the unit is also important. Ruud units have louvered steel cabinets which protect the coils from the elements and a grille design to reduce fan noise.

Summer is right around the corner, so it’s not too early to start evaluating your air conditioning needs.