One of the greatest comforts on a hot summer day in Northwest Arkansas is to step into your cool, air-conditioned home. The only downside is knowing that when the utility bills arrive, you’ll be paying a pretty penny for that comfort. If you feel like you have to make a choice between comfort and savings, a high-efficiency air conditioner upgrade may be your answer.
Air conditioners are intended to last for a decade or two, provided they receive regular preventive maintenance. While that makes them a good investment, it also means that by the time that you need to replace your old model, technology has had time to make many advances. One of the main technological areas that has been developed in the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) industry is energy efficiency. Not only is saving energy good for the environment, it’s also good for your wallet. The more energy you save, the less money that you have to pay in energy bills.
When you compare older models of air conditioners with what’s on the market today, there is a remarkable difference in energy efficiency. An air conditioner made in the 1970s, for example, required 30 to 50 percent more energy to produce the same amount of cooling as one made today. Even as short a time as ten years ago, air conditioners had as much as 40 percent higher energy costs compared to today.
Energy efficiency is measured by a unit’s SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) rating, which measures a unit’s cooling output compared to the energy that it consumes over the course of a typical cooling season. Prior to 2006, the standard minimum SEER rating was 10. After 2006, it was moved up to 13, giving a 30 percent increase in energy efficiency. This increase in efficiency resulted in homeowners with new high-efficiency air conditioners seeing a significant savings in their utility bills. In some cases, the savings can pay for all or most of the cost of the air-conditioning upgrade over time.
One way to tell if the air conditioner you’re purchasing is high efficiency is to look for the Energy Star label, which indicates that the product meets or exceeds high efficiency standards.
For more expert advice on upgrading to a high-efficiency air conditioner or other HVAC matters in Northwest Arkansas, contact Paschal Heat, Air, Geothermal. & Generators. We’ve proudly served residential customers for more than 40 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about high-efficiency air conditioners and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.