Selecting a System That Works for You

Choosing a new air conditioner can be a lengthy process, but finding the right kind of system will pay dividends for years to come. Whether you’re in a third-floor walk-up apartment or a homeowner whose HVAC system isn’t getting the job done, selecting a new AC unit is important for your comfort and safety during the summer.

With so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to navigate the market. So, how should you choose a new air conditioner?

In this article, Heatwave Air Conditioning and Heating’s HVAC contractors discuss when you should replace your air conditioner and outline a comprehensive process for selecting a new system. We highlight the importance of honestly assessing your needs and explore some pros and cons to consider during the selection process.

When Should You Replace Your Air Conditioner?

Knowing when to replace your air conditioning system is essential for maintaining your home’s comfort and avoiding costly repairs. There are several factors to consider and many telltale signs to look out for.

Here are some considerations when assessing your AC unit:


If your unit is more than 10-15 years old, you should get an assessment by a professional technician, as this is the expected lifespan of most systems.

Repair Frequency

Even if your AC system isn’t old, if it requires frequent repairs, you may save yourself time and money in the long run by upgrading to a new system. Apply the $5,000 rule: multiply the age of your unit by the cost of your repair. If the amount exceeds $5,000, you may want to make the economical choice and invest in an entirely new system.

Energy Efficiency

If your electricity bills seem higher than normal or your home isn’t cooling evenly, upgrading to a new, state-of-the-art system can help. Additionally, if your system uses R-22 refrigerant (which is being phased out and banned), replacing your AC is a good idea.


If your AC consistently underperforms, makes loud banging noises, emits a foul odor, or causes you undue trouble, upgrading to a new unit is a worthwhile investment.

Professional Recommendations for Selecting a New AC System

If your air conditioner fits any of the above criteria or has stopped working altogether, you can begin the selection process. Here are some guidelines to follow when preparing to get a new air conditioning system:

Assess Your Cooling Needs

The first step in selecting a new AC unit is assessing your cooling needs accurately and determining the number of rooms you want to cool. Consider the size and layout of your home; square footage, high ceilings, and window and vent placement all impact the effectiveness of an AC unit.

Take into account the amount of sunlight your home receives, the quality of its insulation, and the number of occupants. An undersized unit won’t cool effectively; an oversized one may lead to humidity issues and inefficient operation. It’s also important to think about usage rates honestly and estimate how often you’ll run the AC.

The Best Types of Air Conditioning Systems

Another significant consideration when replacing your air conditioner is the type of system that’s best suited to your home. Different AC systems have widely varying costs and installation processes. Large homes with existing ductwork can benefit from central air upgrades, but replacing ducts and ventilation can be expensive and disruptive.

Central air, ductless mini splits, window ACs, and portable units can all be suitable in different spaces, but finding the best type for your home depends on your needs, preferences, and budget. With options available for smart units and home integration, there are numerous options that will serve you effectively for years to come.

Consider the Pros and Cons of AC Systems

Finding an AC that fits your home requires considering the pros and cons of each system. Different units have variances in noise levels, installation costs, energy efficiency ratings, maintenance needs, warranties, and several other factors.

Here are some pros and cons of four popular types of AC systems:

Central Air

  • Pros: It provides uniform cooling, operates quietly, improves your home value, and is an energy-efficient solution for large spaces. It lasts a long time and can be integrated with a smart thermostat.
  • Cons: It has high initial costs (especially if ductwork needs to be added), requires professional maintenance, and can have high energy costs if used heavily during peak times.

Ductless Mini-Split

  • Pros: It’s easy to install, operates quietly, and is the most efficient type of cooling system, as it allows for zoned cooling and individual room control. It’s an excellent choice for renovations and spaces without existing ductwork.
  • Cons: It’s not effective for cooling large, open areas, and indoor units are mounted on walls, which can detract from your home’s aesthetics and crowd small rooms.

Window Unit

  • Pros: It has a low upfront cost, effectively cools single rooms, and installation is relatively easy.
  • Cons: It’s one of the least energy-efficient options, can be pretty noisy, and blocks your window, reducing airflow and natural light while mounted.

Portable Unit

  • Pros: Without a permanent installation process, portable units are mobile and flexible, making them a cost-effective option for small spaces and renters.
  • Cons: It has a very limited cooling capacity, is noisy, takes up floor space, and requires proper ventilation through a window to use effectively.

HVAC Contractors Offer System Inspections and Installations

If you’re concerned about your home’s air conditioning system, hiring a licensed HVAC contractor can help you understand the best path forward. Contractors provide inspections that can determine the health of your system and installations of new units to keep your home cool and comfortable year-round.

Discuss Your Heating and Cooling Needs With Heatwave Air Conditioning and Heating

When you’re ready to upgrade your AC, the team at Heatwave Air Conditioning and Heating will be eager to take your call. As heating and cooling experts, we understand the complexities involved with HVAC systems and provide code-compliant installations, repairs, and maintenance services.

Call (520) 623-1855 to discuss your needs with our friendly technicians today.