If the time has come to upgrade your aging air conditioner, finding an energy-efficient unit that still offers effective cooling power should be one of your top priorities. An energy-efficient air conditioner will help reduce your electricity consumption and utility costs, benefitting both the environment and your bank account.
The relative efficiency of a central air conditioner is measured using a metric known as “SEER.” Standing for “Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio,” the SEER rating measures the amount of energy input that must be used in order to achieve a specified level of cooling within a fixed area. While the technicalities of how this metric is calculated are fairly complex, all you really need to know as a consumer is this: the higher a given central air conditioner’s SEER rating, the better its energy efficiency.
In the United States, all air conditioners manufactured from January, 2006 on are required to have a minimum Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio of 13. While you can typically expect that air conditioners with superior efficiencies also come at a higher up-front cost, it is important that you keep in mind how much money you stand to save in electricity costs. The average lifespan of an air conditioner is 10 to 15 years, so paying a few hundred dollars more up front for a central A/C unit that uses 15, 20 or even 25 percent less electricity than a comparable but less efficient model obviously makes good sense.
One thing you should be sure to do when shopping for a new air conditioner is to sit down and calculate the total cost of a particular unit, which is the sum of the price of the actual air conditioner plus the amount of money you’ll spend running it, using your current usage rates as a guideline and assuming utility prices will remain stable. This will help you select the most affordable and efficient unit possible.
At Paschal Heating, Air & Geothermal, we want to help you find the ideal air conditioner. If you have questions about SEER ratings or want to learn more about our products, please contact us.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about SEER and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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