Getting Professional Advice from a Reputable Company - A reputable company can help educate the consumer, so that they can make an informed decision about the replacement or the repair of an existing air conditioner or heater. Repairing your unit may be the cheapest solution in the short term, but may be more expensive down the road. If your unit is old, breaks down often and consumes more energy than a newer system, installing a new system can more than pay for itself over time. If not, then simple repairs may be the smarter option. A reputable company should be able to walk you through your options.
Note on Matching Systems and other Pitfalls - Whenever your condensing unit goes out, most reputable air conditioning technicians will recommend that you replace your indoor air handler at the same time, because the two units must be matched so that your new outdoor unit can work at maximum efficiency. Improperly matched units will shorten the lifespan of your new unit. This is just one of the many pitfalls that need to be avoided when replacing a system. Do not make a serious mistake when buying a system. Consult a reputable professional.
The Compressor - The compressor is the motor or pump that makes an air conditioner work and can be very expensive to replace. Air conditioners usually have either a scroll or reciprocating compressor. Scroll compressors are more efficient and make less noise and are therefore more expensive initially. Reciprocating compressors are less efficient, make more noise and usually come with a shorter warranty life. Most compressors have a five-year parts warranty and many come with a ten-year warranty standard. Some units offer an additional warranty, which can be purchased separately.
Variable Speed Air Handlers - Most systems are standard, meaning the motor runs at only one speed and is either running on or off. Anytime the blower is running, it is at full capacity using the maximum amount of energy. The motor of a variable speed air handler is smarter than the average blower, it automatically varies its speed based on your home's heating and cooling requirements. Other benefits include quieter, better control of humidity, cleaner air and more even temperatures.