Choosing a Central Air System For Your Home

Help With Choosing a Central Air SystemWhen you are looking for a new central air conditioning system in Chicago's southwestern suburbs, Perfect Air can help you with FREE friendly advice, and a FREE estimate.

There are several issues to consider in choosing a new system. Please note that these are only general observations, it is important to have a professional in-home inspection for advice with your own specific needs and a comparison with your existing system.

Choosing an air conditioner system should be a little bit easier than choosing a furnace. You will need to decide how efficient you want the air conditioner to be, you will have to decide which refrigerant you want in your air conditioner, you will have to decide if you want a Single Stage or Two Stage unit, and you will need to decide if the sound output level of your air conditioner is going to be an issue.

What does SEER mean?

One of the decisions you need to make is how efficient you want your air conditioner to be. You will have to choose an air conditioner between 13 SEER and 21 SEER. The SEER rating on an air conditioner is a lot like the miles per gallon rating on a car. The higher the SEER rating, the less electricity it will use to cool your home. In Illinois, the amount of cooling hours (the average number of hours an air conditioner runs) per year is somewhat minimal compared to the southern states. Because the cooling hours in Illinois are minimal and electricity rates have been frozen for the last ten years, high efficiency air conditioners haven't really made sense in terms of return on investment. That is all starting to change. With the electrical rate freeze gone and electrical rates on the rise. It now makes sense for Illinois homeowners to consider higher SEER air conditioners.

R-22 or R-410A refrigerant?

Refrigerant is the gas that runs through your air conditioning system that actually absorbs the heat from inside the home and transfers it to the exterior of your home. Refrigerant is commonly referred to as Freon. R-22 is the refrigerant that has been in all air conditioners for the last century. R-22 has been deemed too harmful for the ozone and no manufacturer will be permitted to manufacture air conditioners with R-22 refrigerant after 2010. R-410A is the new refrigerant that will be taking the place of R-22. Most of the industry's leading manufacturers have already converted most or all of their air conditioning units to R-410A .

Single Stage or Two Stage?

Two Stage air conditioners offer many nice benefits. They have two different cooling outputs (Half Power Cooling and Full Power Cooling), depending on what the thermostat tells the air conditioner it needs. The thermostat will base that decision on the temperature of the house. Example: If you have a 5 Ton two stage air conditioner, the thermostat will call for first stage cooling (2.5 Tons) first. On mild days it will cool your home on first stage without a problem. If it cannot satisfy the thermostat, the thermostat will tell the air conditioner to activate the second stage (5 Tons). For a very large portion of the year a two stage air conditioner will cool your home without ever needing to ramp up to second stage. When it's running in first stage, it's using about half the electricity, but only putting out about half the cooling. A Two Stage air conditioner will run for a longer period of time than the Single Stage air conditioner, but the longer an air conditioner runs the more evenly it will mix the air in the home and the more humidity it will remove from the air. If you experience uneven temperatures (hot and cold rooms) in your home during the cooling season, the Two Stage air conditioner should help or even eliminate this problem. If you experience higher than normal humidity levels in your home during the cooling season, the Two Stage air conditioner should help or even eliminate this problem. If the sound output level of your air conditioner is important (this is usually the case if you like spending time outside your home and the air conditioner bothers you when it runs) you should consider a Two Stage air conditioner.

Sound output level

If you like spending time outside your home, you should find out about the sound output level of each air conditioner you are considering (especially if your air conditioner is near an area where you entertain company). The higher SEER units and the Two Stage units tend to be quieter than the low SEER Single Stage air conditioning units.

Which air conditioner makes the most sense?

When selecting which air conditioner to invest in, I highly recommend balancing that decision with the amount of time you plan on living in the home and your expectations. If you are staying for 5 or more years, I would recommend a 15 to 21 SEER air conditioner. If you have excessive humidity in the summer or the sounds of your air conditioner disturbs you or your company, I would recommend a Two Stage 19 to 21 SEER air conditioner. I chose a 19 SEER Two Stage air conditioner/heat pump for my home. Many of my customers have installed this same unit and love it just as much as I do. If you have limited funds and you can't afford the best furnace and the best air conditioner money can buy, I would recommend spending the extra money on the better furnace. The furnace will pay you back faster and will offer benefits during the heating and cooling season.


Before any installation begins, we have an evaluation and estimate process. A comfort consultant will come to your home and start by asking a few questions. These questions will help the consultant figure out what systems to recommend to you, and what changes we may need to make during the installation to fix some of the existing problems you may have in your current system. The consultant will then evaluate your existing system. After a thorough evaluation, he or she can sit down with you and explain what we have seen, make logical recommendations, and leave you with a few options and exact pricing on systems that will fit your needs.

High Efficiency Systems

We install high efficiency comfort systems designed to be the most cost-effective on the market. I know it may be hard to believe, but technology has created systems that (for some customers) offer as much or more than a 50% reduction in energy bills. Whether you own a condo or a 20,000 square ft. office building, we have a cutting edge system that can help you achieve the savings you deserve. Ask us about all the options we have to fulfill your particular high efficiency needs.

What’s included?

When we give you a bid for a new system, we make sure that the quoted price includes everything we need to complete the job. We also list everything included on a printed proposal. If we forget to include something you need in our proposal, we will add it and you won’t pay for it. Rest assured that the price we give you is the exact price you will pay at the end of the installation. No hidden charges or fees, and taxes are already included in the price.

Equipment Warranty

Every furnace & air conditioner we install comes with our industry leading 10 year parts & labor warranty. For 10 years you won’t have to pay a single penny for any repairs. Problems caused by an act of God, equipment neglect or misuse are the only issues that may not be fully covered by our warranty. All 80% AFUE furnaces come with a 20 year heat exchanger parts warranty, and all 90% (or higher) AFUE furnaces come with a lifetime heat exchanger parts warranty. Some models actually come with a furnace replacement heat exchanger warranty (call for more details on this particular warranty). To keep these warranties valid, you must have each unit cleaned and checked by us once a year. This warranty is transferable to any new homeowner.

The Installation Process

When we come to your home to install a new system, our installation team will begin by introducing themselves to you. They will put covers over their boots, and cover the walking path (with painter’s tarps) between the door they will be entering from and the work area (so the working path will be protected). Then they will walk through the install process with you. They will explain all the steps involved and will discuss the placement of each unit (to make sure everyone is on the same page). When the installation is complete, they will review a checklist to make sure everything is complete and fine tuned to manufacturers specifications. Finally they will take you on a test drive and explain how your new system works.

For all your air conditioning needs in SW Chicago call and speak with Perfect Air today. We can help you with FREE friendly advice, and a FREE estimate.

Call Us