What you need to know about air conditioner efficiency
It’s spring preventative maintenance time! It can also be a good time to replace your old air conditioner with something shiny, new and more efficient! Finding a new air conditioner can be tough, and before you go into the purchase process it can be a good idea to get a general idea of what to look for in a new system.
Arguably, the most important indicator of performance and overall system satisfaction over the course of an air conditioner’s life is its efficiency. That is because heating and air conditioning equipment comprises the majority of your utility bill expenses month-to-month – nearly 60% in some cases. So, any way you can cut back on heating and cooling operating costs will mean more money in your pocket.
The main indicator of air conditioner efficiency is SEER. SEER stands for the Seasonal Efficiency Ratio. There are minimum requirements for air conditioner efficiency generally starting at 13 or 14 SEER (depending on the type of air conditioner/system and the area of the country that you live in). The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the system, and the more money you can expect to save on cooling costs during the summer.
Now, higher SEER systems typically come with a higher price tag. But, you have to weigh a couple of things before you decide that you don’t want to spend more money up front. The main thing is the savings you can see over the life of your system. Maybe you’re spending more up front, but you may be able to recoup those costs over the life of your system. But, if your budget doesn’t have the room for a high-efficiency air conditioner, you can always make an upgrade to standard efficiency. If your system is over 10 years old, even a standard-efficiency system today is going to be significantly more efficient than an old standard-efficiency unit from the past – maybe 30 to 40% more efficient in some cases! This can still translate to significant savings over your old system.
Always consult with a local heating and air conditioning contractor before you settle on a system. They will be able to give you the best system recommendations for a home in your area with your specific wants.
Do you have a high-efficiency air conditioner? Are you seeing savings?