If the summer heat has exhausted your old air conditioner, you’re probably wondering what you can do to maximize your investment in a new air conditioning system. After all, air conditioners aren’t cheap, but if you choose wisely they will last for many years. If you decide on a high-efficiency air conditioning system, you can find yourself saving money on your energy costs.
Your old air conditioner is probably several years old. Even if it was an energy-efficiency model for its time, advances in technology mean that a new system will likely save you more energy than your old one, which in turn leads to lower utility costs. In fact, if you replace an air conditioner from a decade ago with a new energy-efficient model, you can save between 20 and 40 percent off your cooling costs. Over the life of the air conditioner, this savings can make the equipment pay for itself.
Some energy-efficient features to look for include:
- A dual-stage compressor, which operates at a lower capacity when the weather is cooler, using less energy
- ECM condensing fan motors and blower motors, which automatically adjust speed to save energy
- Thermal expansion valves, which control the amount of refrigerant being used so that less is used when the temperature is cooler.
Energy efficiency is indicated by a SEER rating, or seasonal energy efficiency ratio. This rating measures how much energy an air conditioner uses to cool your home during the entire cooling season.
To be sold today, an air conditioner must have a SEER rating of 13 or higher. Prior to 2006, the minimum SEER rating was 10, and older models could be as low as 6. Assuming your old air conditioner had a SEER rating of 10, buying a new model with at least a rating of 13 would result in a 30 percent increase in efficiency. For more energy efficiency, you can look into buying an air conditioner with a rating higher than 13.
For more expert advice on high-efficiency air conditioning systems or any other HVAC questions, contact Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing. We have proudly served the HVAC needs of Grand Traverse County for over 30 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about a high-efficiency air conditioning system and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.