Did you know that on September 27, 2010, Los Angeles, CA, reached a scorching 113 degrees Fahrenheit? The temperatures around the City of Angels can be downright brutal – which is why you need a reliable air conditioning unit that can keep you and your family comfortable all summer long.
At Universal Heating & Air, our excellent HVAC contractors know air conditioners and understand the importance of finding the right air conditioner for you, including the ideal manufacturer.
What Factors Should You Consider When Buying an Air Conditioner?
The typical cooling season in Los Angeles is between March and November. You need a professional company to install the ideal air conditioning system for your needs, home’s square footage, and budget. Here are several factors to consider when shopping for replacement or new air conditioning units:
Variety of Air Conditioner
In addition to the perennial favorite central air conditioner – which features an exterior condenser and interior evaporator – other types of air conditioning systems might work for your LA home, such as:
- Ductless air conditioners. Central air conditioners feature two major components, one outside and one inside, that draw in warm air before cooling and conditioning the air and releasing it throughout your home. As the name would suggest, ductless systems do not feature ductwork and are ideal for smaller homes or apartments that only need to cool up to 900 to 1,500 square feet.
- Window air conditioners. If you want an affordable option to cool a single room or a small square footage property, a window air conditioner is a good option. Here is a helpful tip if you have a multi-story property: Installing a window air conditioner on the upper floor can help ensure cool air is spread throughout the home and puts less strain on your central AC unit.
- Split system air conditioner. A common variety of central air conditioners, split systems feature two separate units: one inside and another installed outside. Most Los Angeles homeowners enjoy split systems because they can be ducted or ductless and attached to an existing furnace.
- Heat pumps. Another excellent option for any resident of Southern California, heat pumps resemble split systems in several ways. If you want a system that provides heat during the short winter months, choose a hybrid heat pump with a reversing valve. This allows you to flip a switch and turn on the air in the summer and heat on a chilly morning.
- Portable AC. A portable AC is a cost-effective option but not the best choice for a Los Angeles home or apartment. However, suppose you have a camper or need to temporarily cool your home while a representative from Universal Heating & Air works on your current HVAC system. In that case, portable air conditioning units are a quick and inexpensive solution.
Everyone wants to spend less on their monthly energy bills – especially residents of California, where there is a constant push towards more eco-conscious options. Air conditioning systems with a higher energy efficiency rating are superior in most ways – except the price.
It can be tricky to determine the energy efficiency of a unit, so look for the Energy Star Certification and a high SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) and EER (energy efficiency rating) ratings. Basically, these distinctions let you know that you are choosing a quality unit that will allow you to enjoy the HVAC system without draining your wallet.
Installation Costs of Your HVAC System
The overall installation cost is a huge factor that many homeowners overlook. Larger central air conditioner units are obviously much more complex and far more expensive to install than small ductless systems, resulting in higher installation costs.
If you have a make and model of AC unit in mind but aren’t sure if you can afford the installation cost, contact the pros at Universal Heating & Air. We will come to your home and discuss your options before providing a free estimate on all labor costs.
The crew from Universal will do a stellar job on the HVAC installation – but it is inevitable you will require maintenance and repairs. Do your homework to determine the average cost to repair and maintain the make and model of your air conditioner before you contact a pro to install the new HVAC system.
A great way to ensure that you don’t incur the costs associated with unnecessary and avoidable repairs to your HVAC unit is to schedule yearly maintenance. Contact Universal to set up a maintenance schedule to ensure your AC system is always in tip-top shape.
Choosing any make and model of energy-efficient systems is great – but not if the clings, clangs, and noise from the AC unit will keep you up all night. Do a little research and determine the typical decibel level of different HVAC systems. Most air conditioners are anywhere between 72 to 82 decibels. As the AC unit ages, it will only become louder.
When your current unit is so loud that it becomes unbearable and your neighbors are starting to complain, it is a clear sign of a problem that needs immediate maintenance. When this occurs, give Universal a call! We can help you determine if you require an HVAC repair or if it is time to replace your current HVAC equipment with any number of high-efficiency air conditioners.
Finally, don’t forget to read the warranty thoroughly! Each HVAC brand will have its own unique warranty, and some are much better than others. No matter what the conditions and length of the warranty are, you will need to register your AC unit ASAP after it is professionally installed.
What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need?
Whether you choose a split system, central air conditioner, or heat pump – it is critical to determine the ideal size air conditioner for your space. BTUs, or British Thermal Units, a standard measurement of energy units, measure most residential air conditioners. The higher the BTUs, the more powerful the air conditioning unit.
You might assume that the higher the BTUs, the better. However, there comes a point when an air conditioner is too powerful, which can cause unnecessary wear and tear on the unit. Instead, allow the team at Universal to help you find the ideal size air conditioner for your Los Angeles home.
Most residential units weigh anywhere between 1.5 tons to 5 tons or between 5,000 and 35,000 BTUs. As a rule, you will require 20 BTUs for each square foot of space inside your home. For example, if you have a 1,500 to 2,000-square-foot house, an air conditioner that features 30,000 BTUs is an optimal choice.
If you are opting for a window air conditioner, a 5,000 BTU unit will effectively cool a room that is anywhere between 100 to 150 square feet.
Top Air Conditioning Brands
The time has finally arrived for you to narrow down your options and choose from the best air conditioner brands on the market. Sure, you could do your homework on every manufacturer, make, and model of AC units – but who wants to spend their free time researching AC manufacturers?
Instead, here are a few 10 of the best AC brands on the market – and the pros and cons of each manufacturer:
Lennox is one of the most well-known AC companies for many reasons – including its longevity. The company was started by Dave Lennox back in 1895 when Lennox introduced the world’s very first riveted-steel HVAC unit.
- High energy efficiency and SEER ratings.
- Great for Los Angeles residents because of the higher capacity units available.
- It can be run off solar panels, which is a massive consideration for California homeowners. Like most states, California offers tax incentives for installing and maintaining solar panels. Having an AC unit that is powered by solar energy is a game-changer and a massive pro for California residents.
- Available for purchase at major retailers, including Lowes and Home Depot. This means you can buy a unit that is on sale and have it installed by a professional, including the qualified team at Universal.
- A more expensive option that can make it difficult for low-income families to enjoy the company’s benefits. Lennox is known for quality, which means that even the most inexpensive models are more costly to install and maintain than other options, such as Goodman.
- Noisier than the competition. Many Lennox AC units run at 70 decibels or more, making them louder than the competition. If you live in a tight Los Angeles neighborhood, the noise pollution your HVAC system produces should be considered.
- The warranty is less competitive than other companies at similar price points. If a comprehensive warranty is an essential factor, Lennox might not be the best option for you.
The Bryant Company was founded in 1904 by Charles Bryant and was initially called the Natural Gas Regulator Company. Eventually, Bryant was purchased by a company called Dresser Industries and merged with several other smaller subsidiaries. The company was finally merged with Carrier Air Conditioners in 1955.
- Offers a variety of energy-efficient AC units at various price points. No matter your budget, chances are you will find a Bryant air conditioning system that is in your price range.
- The AC unit and entire HVAC system are much quieter than other high-quality heating and cooling brands at a similar price point. Once again, living in Los Angeles, your AC unit’s noise pollution should be considered.
- Most models are compatible with modern thermostats, including WiFi-enabled smart thermostats.
- The warranty period is shorter than comparably-priced units from other top brands.
- Higher-than-average repair costs. When you consider the cost of maintenance and repairs over a period of several years, Bryant typically is much more expensive to run and maintain. Consider these costs when creating a budget, both now and in the future.
- Limited availability. Unlike other manufacturers with extensive, nationwide availability of parts and units, you might have trouble finding the make and model of the Bryant air conditioner you are after.
In addition to manufacturing air conditioning units, Trane also produces and sells a wide variety of other products – including smart thermostats, furnaces, heat pumps, and air handlers. The company was originally founded in 1931 but was purchased by American Standard in 1931 – although it still operates and is sold under the “Trane” name.
- Ideal for coastal homes where corrosion from high humidity and water damage is a factor. Trane models are manufactured with DuraTuff technology, which means the outdoor condenser can withstand harsh elements.
- A fantastic warranty includes a 10-year warranty on parts and labor and a 12-year warranty on the compressor.
- A well-known brand that is established and can be repaired and maintained by almost any HVAC company and HVAC technician in the Los Angeles area – including the pros at Universal Heating & Air!
- More expensive than other brands and also doesn’t offer as high of a seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER rating, for the money, especially when compared to other top air conditioner brands.
- Requires constant proper maintenance, and the cost to repair and maintain your Trane AC might be higher than other comparably-priced manufacturers.
- They are known for being noisier than other brands. Along with Lennox, Trane is notorious for being noisy to operate.
Carrier, a well-respected and well-known AC company, entered the burgeoning AC market in 1902. Founded by Willis Carrier, many consider Carrier to be amongst the best, if not the very best, air conditioner brands on the market.
- A very well-respected brand with a reputation for selling some of the best high-efficiency units on the market today.
- Carrier is known for selling very quiet-running AC units.
- A notable 10-year limited warranty on certain parts.
- Carrier products are known for being some of the best, but they are arguably the most expensive manufacturers of AC products on the market today.
- Although there is a 10-year warranty on certain parts, depending on the model, the warranty will seem very limited to other units that are less expensive.
- Requires a representative from Carrier to visit your home and sell you the product. It can be tricky to find the cost of a Carrier unit simply because, in many cases, a representative from the Carrier company will need to come to your home and sell you the product directly.
Founded in 1975, many associate the name “Goodman” with quality and affordable furnaces and air handlers. Goodman falls under the umbrella of the Daikin company and is associated with Amana, although it is known for being more affordable than Amana air conditioning units.
- Perfect for budget-conscious shoppers. Living in Los Angeles can be very expensive, and if you want a quality AC unit installed on your property, Goodman is a great option.
- Goodman switched to R-401A for all its AC units. Unlike other refrigerants still used by some major brands, including R22, R-401A releases fewer emissions into the ozone layer without sacrificing quality.
- A better-than-average replacement warranty. If you need a whole new unit, and your Goodman is still under warranty, the manufacturer will pay for a whole new unit.
- Options for high-efficiency air conditioners with a higher SEER rating are less plentiful than other manufacturers, including Carrier.
- Goodman only sells their air conditioning units wholesale, meaning you must purchase and have the unit installed by a qualified dealer. Luckily, Universal is an authorized dealer of Goodman, and we are able to install and maintain your Goodman AC.
- Goodman AC units are known for being louder. Additionally, the warranty coverage on parts and labor is much shorter than other manufacturers. You might only have one year of coverage if you choose a Goodman product.
A sister company of Goodman furnaces and air conditioning units, Amana began to manufacture walk-in freezers and refrigerators. Chances are, either you or a member of your family has an Amana product somewhere in their home! Many people don’t realize that Amana also produces top-quality air conditioners and is a leader in the HVAC industry.
- An American-owned and operated company. If it is essential to purchase an AC system that is manufactured in the USA, Amana is headquartered in Benton Harbor, Michigan!
- The warranty provided by Amana is comparable to other major brands. If you have ever owned any other Amana product, from a dishwasher to a washing machine or fridge, you know that Amana offers competitive warranties.
- The company website and customer service are known for being very user-friendly. If you want to perform minor repairs, find the location of your unit’s air filters, or find a schematic of the HVAC system, you can find this information on the Amana website.
- A high upfront investment. Much like Carrier, Amana is known for being more expensive to install. If you have a modest budget, consider other manufacturers.
- Users often complain about the technology. Compared to other manufacturers, Amana is a newer HVAC company. The technology has a few bugs, and you might need an Amana-certified representative or repair expert to maintain your unit.
- The warranty is non-transferable. Several HVAC manufacturers allow you to transfer the unit’s warranty to a new homeowner in the event you sell your home. This is an attractive feature and something to consider if you are upgrading your HVAC system before selling your Los Angeles property.
Another one of the best HVAC companies that actually started out manufacturing different products, York has been around since 1874 and originally produced and sold ice machines! In 1914, York introduced its first version of what we know as the modern air conditioner.
- An established company with years of experience. With the exception of Lennox, York has been manufacturing air conditioning units for several decades, meaning they have perfected their AC technology.
- A budget-friendly choice. York has several models available at different price points. If you are a first-time homeowner, flipping a home, or renting your home as an extra source of income, you can save money by installing a York system on your property.
- Portions of Southern California can be notoriously arid. If lower humidity levels are an issue, York features a specialized technology that allows you to adjust when the temperatures rise and the air is dry or arid.
- Issues with installation. Many people have had problems installing or having a York AC system installed in their homes. If you choose a York, ensure that the company you work with is known for its installation quality, including the team at Universal.
- The selection is less comprehensive than other manufacturers, including Lennox or Carrier.
- Several customers have noted issues with leaking, problems after installation, and other issues with customer service.
Initially founded in 1960, you might not have heard of the Fujitsu brand of furnaces and air conditioning solutions. This worldwide brand sells various products, including telecommunication and electronics, in addition to central air conditioning systems.
- A wide selection of products for a relatively unknown company. Fujitsu is known for its split systems. However, they also sell central air conditioning units, heat pumps, and air handlers.
- Once again, Fujitsu is known for its split systems. Fujitsu is relatively inexpensive compared to other foreign-based manufacturers, including Mitsubishi.
- Easy to install and operate. The operations are very straightforward, and the unit is relatively simple to set up, as well.
- Although Fujitsu is less expensive than other comparable brands, they are much more costly to install than window air conditioners. A larger-model window air conditioner can often cool a room as effectively as a smaller split-system from Fujitsu but for a fraction of the cost.
- Greater maintenance requirements. Installing a split system inside your Los Angeles home will require far more maintenance than a comparable window-mounted or portable unit.
Another of the top air conditioner brands on the market, Coleman first began producing air conditioners in 1958. Today, Coleman produces a comprehensive variety of products, including furnaces and heat pumps, and is owned by Jonhson Controls.
- Quiet operation. Several smaller models of Coleman units produce less than 69 decibels, making them a quiet option for your Los Angeles home or apartment.
- Coleman has also switched to a more environmentally-friendly refrigerant. Living in California, where more and more people are going green, is a major plus for any homeowner, especially if you are trying to get top dollar for your LA county property.
- Energy efficiency on a budget. A top-of-the-line Coleman HVAC system can be installed for less than a comparable unit from the competition. If you truly want the most bang for your proverbial buck, consider a Coleman.
- A heavy option that isn’t the right option for smaller homes. Many Los Angeles homeowners don’t have the outdoor space to install their HVAC system’s condenser on the ground and are forced to install it on the roof. Coleman condensers are some of the heaviest on the market, meaning you might need to pay extra to brace your roof to handle the weight.
- Unlike Trane, Carrier, or Lennox, Coleman is not known as a company with products on the cutting edge. If having a state-of-the-art HVAC system that allows you to control the product with your smartphone or power it with roof-mounted solar panels, Coleman probably isn’t the right company for you.
Just like Amana, chances are you associate Frigidaire with refrigerators and freezers. However, this company has been manufacturing and selling air conditioners since the 1950s. The original Frigidaire AC units were actually installed inside a wide variety of cars and trucks sold by GM, Jaguar, and Rolls Royce!
- If your budget is tight, Frigidaire is a good option. There is a limited selection of central air conditioning systems. However, if you want a supplemental window-mounted air conditioner, Frigidaire is a solid brand.
- Frigidaire utilizes not only a variable speed compressor but also inverter compressor technology. The inverter helps regulate the energy flow to the unit, saving you money on your monthly energy usage and bills.
- Frigidaire offers a comprehensive 10-year warranty on many of its models. If you aren’t sure which is the suitable model or are concerned about the specifics of the warranty, talk to a representative from Frigidaire or a professional HVAC contractor from Universal Heating & Air.
- Fewer models are available with high SEER ratings. If a high SEER and EER rating is a top priority, Frigidaire will have fewer options for you.
- Many owners complain about the noise level of their Frigidaire central air conditioning system. If this is a huge consideration, choose a model that does not have such a high decibel level.
Central Air Cost and Ways to Save
Depending on the unit type, manufacturer, make, and model, you can expect to pay anywhere from $200 for a simple window air conditioning unit to upwards of $10,000 for a top-of-the-line central air conditioner. However, no matter what you choose, there are a few ways you can save big money on the replacement of your existing Los Angeles, CA, AC unit, including:
Check for tax credits and rebates from your utility provider. Many states, including California, offer periodic tax rebates and credits when you purchase a new unit featuring the Energy Star Certification. Some utility providers will also offer a credit or rebate because it simply costs less energy to run high-efficiency units.
Consider financing. HVAC companies offer financing to well-qualified California buyers. This is an excellent option if you do not have the cash or credit to pay for the unit upfront, which is common because replacing or upgrading your entire system can be expensive.
Purchase the unit from the installation company. Choose a company that is a one-stop shop for all your AC needs. Many providers also sell AC units and can potentially get your unit wholesale, which can save you even more cash.
Once you have your new unit installed, it is just as critical to maintain the AC system to ensure it runs smoothly and avoid unnecessary repairs. In addition to regularly changing the air filters and scheduling a yearly inspection, there are several other simple ways you can care for your fabulous new AC unit:
Pull out your vacuum cleaner. If you have pets, it is especially important to vacuum your home often, especially the floor near the registers. This helps prevent dust, dirt, and pet hair from collecting inside the ducts, which can not only impact the efficiency of the unit but, over time, it can damage the furnace or air handler inside the home.
Keep the area around the condenser clean. Trim the trees or bushes around the condenser. If your condenser is on your lawn, use caution when mowing to avoid hitting the metal unit. Cover the condenser when not in use to prevent damage.
Contact Universal at the first sign of a potential problem. Most importantly, if you ever notice any strange sounds or smell, contact the pros and Universal Heating & Air right away.
Contact Universal Heating & Air With All Your Los Angeles, CA HVAC Needs
You are ready to choose from the best air conditioners available but aren’t sure about the right option for your family, needs, Los Angeles home, and, most importantly, your wallet. At Universal Heating & Air, we know HVAC units and can help you choose the ideal model and size for your home.
In addition to the installation, we can help you create a maintenance schedule and provide you with simple and helpful tips on how to properly care for your amazing new HVAC system.
Our company is certified through the Better Business Bureau or BBB. Or team is also certified through the United States Environmental Protection Agency, EPA; we are EPA Lead-Safe Certified and have the distinct pleasure of being NATE, or North American Technician Certification, certified.
We can install any HVAC system requiring NATE certification, and several manufacturers require this distinction.
Services We Offer for Any Air Conditioner Brand
Our team of qualified experts provides a wide variety of services, including:
- Air conditioning repair
- Air conditioning maintenance
- Emergency air conditioner repair
- AC Maintenance
- Thermostat repair and replace
If you have a furnace inside your Los Angeles home, we can handle the repair, maintenance, and installation of your furnace. Just like your efficient AC unit, you can rest assured our qualified team of experts can help you choose the ideal furnace for your unique needs – even if you only need to run the furnace a few days or weeks out of the year!
If you are a commercial property owner, you are just as concerned about how much energy you utilize to run your HVAC system, especially the air conditioner. We provide comprehensive commercial HVAC services in Los Angeles to our commercial clients, as well, including:
- Commercial AC Repair
- Commercial AC installation and replacement
- Emergency HVAC repair
- Thermostat repairs and replacement
With several years of experience serving the amazing people of Los Angeles, CA, Universal Heating & Air has the tools, skills, and knowledge necessary to upgrade and maintain almost every variety of HVAC systems.