When your home's air conditioner eventually breaks down in the middle of summer, you will need to start shopping for a new one immediately. Instead of making an uninformed quick decision, make sure you understand three things that can help guide you towards purchasing the right air conditioner.

Understand The Differences In Efficiently Ratings

There are two factors that air conditioners are rated by that you will be seeing when shopping around. The energy efficiency ratio (EER) and the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). The rating is often found on the yellow sticker that has all of the energy rating information.

The key thing to remember is that the higher the number is, the more efficient your air conditioner will be. While the EER rating is based off of constant temperatures throughout the entire year, the SEER rating is based off of temperatures that fluctuate.

Some states do require minimum EER and SEER ratings for their air conditioners, so in a state like California, you will not even be able to find an air conditioner below 12.2 EER and 14 SEER. According to energystar.gov, the most energy efficient air conditioners top out at 16 EER and 20.5 SEER. Use these numbers as a guide to help judge the efficiency of an air conditioner.

Select The Proper Size

If you are purchasing a central air conditioner, you should have a certified technician like one from Metro Air come to your home to properly size your home. They will take square footage, insulation, windows, ceiling height, and vent placement into consideration to determine how big of a condenser to purchase.

Purchasing a room air conditioner is much easier though. Once you measure the square footage of the area you are looking to cool, you can determine which size air conditioner you need with this handy chart. For example, a 500 sq ft room will need an air conditioner that uses 12,000 BTUs.

Verify That Your Electrical Outlets Can Handle The Unit

There is nothing worse than purchasing your new air conditioner only to find out that a fuse is tripped every time the condenser turns on. This may be from the electrical outlet being shared with another major appliance such as a refrigerator or microwave, or from buying an air conditioner that is too powerful for your home's electrical wiring.

If you only have a standard outlet in your home, it most likely uses 115 or 125 volts. This will have no problem running a 15,000 BTU air conditioner on a dedicated circuit. If the air conditioner is bigger than 15,000 BTU, it will require having a 220 volt circuit installed in your home to handle the additional power consumption.

By understanding these 3 things, you will select an air conditioner that will work great for your home.