Does a High-Efficiency AC Unit Really Save You Money?

Does a High-Efficiency AC Unit Really Save You Money?
  • Opening Intro -

    As many homeowners welcome spring, they are most likely thinking if their air conditioners will survive another summer.

    Figuring this one out can be daunting for most people, especially if they are unfamiliar with most technical jargon.

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The best way to determine if buying a new AC unit would be a good idea is to ask yourself two crucial questions:

  1. How often does your AC need to be repaired?
  2. How high is your utility bill during the scorching summer months?

If both numbers are high, investing in a high-efficiency unit can be an effective way to save money. New air conditioning systems are rated and evaluated based on their energy usage using a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating.

The higher the SEER number, the more efficient the unit can be at cooling your home. Apart from cooling your home, it can also save you money on your energy bills for many years to come.

Factors to Consider When Purchasing a New AC Unit

Undoubtedly, a high-efficiency unit can save you money as it can effectively reduce energy costs. When choosing a new AC unit, keep the following critical factors in mind:

  • Seasonal Energy Efficiency  Ratio (SEER)

    If high efficiency is your goal, it makes sense to compare the SEER of each unit—the more energy-efficient the system, the higher the SEER rating. While AC units with higher SEERs can cost more, they can also provide as much as 30% cooling per watt.

    It is also important to remember that while SEER is essential, you still won’t be able to save much in terms of energy if you have a poorly insulated home. That said, have your home checked for insulation issues before investing in an energy-efficient unit.

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      some HVAC issues to consider      

  • AC Size

    If you are like most homeowners, you likely assume a bigger AC is always better. However, that is not the case all the time. For instance, a unit that’s too big for your home will not only cost more it can also be costly to run.

    The importance of choosing the right-sized unit for your home cannot be overstated. A unit that’s the right size for your home can reduce your energy bill by as much as 35%. If you are unsure about the size that’s right for your home, get professional help.

    Professionals will take into consideration several factors. Some factors include:

    • The volume of air required to keep your home cool
    • Your local climate
    • Your home’s layout
    • Your home’s sun exposure

    The above variables have been known to contribute to the heat inside your home. Professionals will use a formula to measure size requirements.

Unit Performance

Before investing in a new AC unit, you need to consider how your current unit is working. To gauge the performance of your current unit, you need to consider its age, SEER, and the frequency of repairs needed.

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Why is this important? While you can save money if you replace your 10 SEER unit with a 13 SEER unit, you will only be saving an average of $42 annually. That said, it’s not worth the effort or the investment.

On the other hand, if you have an 8 SEER unit and replace it with a 12 SEER unit, you can reduce the yearly costs by a third. Also, AC units that are around 12 to 14 years old are close to their life expectancy, so you might as well start shopping.

Units that are close to a decade, with a good SEER rating, and are not costing you any money in terms of repair might still last for another five years given that it is maintained properly.

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Final Thought

Lastly, before arranging for an AC installation, have a professional carry out an energy efficiency audit. Making the required improvements might potentially reduce the size of the unit you will require.

This can also mean you can invest in a less expensive model. The auditor will also be able to provide recommendations on how you can improve your home’s insulation, like insulation upgrades for the attics, basements, and interior walls or new weather stripping on your windows and doors.

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Image credit: high-efficiency AC unit by envato.com

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