A central air conditioner is one of the most common types of air conditioners chosen for homes. This unit works by blowing cool air through a home's ductwork to cool every part of the home, versus a window or split system unit, which only cools a small area at one time. When you are ready to choose a central unit, you might not understand the best option for your home or how to use it most efficiently. Note a few tips for helping you through this process, and then discuss your choices with an A/C installer as needed.
Humidity makes a difference
Getting a central air conditioner that is properly sized and equipped for your home means taking into account the relative humidity in the home and not just the home's square footage. This is because humidity contributes to the overall temperature and your own comfort level in the space. When it's warm in the home, trapped humidity can make the area feel muggy; when the air conditioner switches on, that humidity can make the space feel cold and clammy.
If you live near the beach or in the tropics, or your space seems humid for any reason, you'll need a built-in dehumidifier so that this extra moisture gets removed as the air circulates through the home. You also don't want an overly large unit, as it may then cool the space before it's able to remove that humidity, and the home will still feel very uncomfortable.
Thermostat compatibility is important
When choosing a replacement air conditioner, be sure you check the brand of thermostat you have and buy a unit that is compatible. Most air conditioners will be compatible with famous brand names of thermostats, but if you get an off-brand air conditioner or have a very old thermostat in the home, the wiring and other mechanisms may not be compatible, and the unit won't operate.
Some homeowners assume that buying a large unit and turning it on as needed, versus setting it to cycle on and off automatically, is the more economical choice. However, you may find that your unit needs to run longer to cool the space when you turn it on, versus leaving it to cycle automatically. Also, a larger unit will typically use more electricity than a smaller unit, so you're actually using more power overall. Keep this in mind when choosing the overall size of your air conditioning unit and when deciding how to operate it.