It’s almost summer (and it’s already getting really, really hot!), which means it’s almost time to start thinking about your air conditioner. Think back to last summer – how much did your AC cost you to run? Did you need to get it repaired at all? If so, how many times? Air conditioner technology has improved rapidly over the past decade – if your air conditioner is over 10 years old, it could be twice as expensive to run as a newer AC! If your cooling costs were higher than you would have liked last summer, it may be time to upgrade to an energy efficient air conditioner.
What is SEER?
One thing you’ll hear over and over again when talking about energy efficient air conditioners is their SEER – Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. How they come up with these numbers is beyond the scope of this blog post, but suffice it to say that higher numbers are better! To put things into perspective, in1992 the minimum SEER was 10. Now, the minimum is 13 – this means that even if you install an energy efficient air conditioner with the minimum possible rating, you’ll still save as much as 25% on your cooling costs!
If you’re looking for an ENERGY STAR certified air conditioner, they start at 14 SEER. And if you’re wondering, air conditioners can reach 23 SEER and beyond!
What to Consider When You Install an Energy Efficient Air Conditioner
When you’re thinking about installing a new energy efficient air conditioner, there are a number of things to keep in mind.
What size should your energy efficient air conditioner be?
One of the biggest mistakes many inexperienced HVAC contractors make is installing an energy efficient air conditioner that is too large or too small for the home it’s supposed to be cooling. An air conditioner that’s improperly sized will be extremely inefficient – even if it has a high SEER! An air conditioner that’s too small will run and run but never be able to cool your home all the way. On the other hand, an air conditioner that is too large will cool your home too fast, causing it to short cycle and turn on and off too often.
You may need to replace both the indoor unit (evaporator) and outdoor units (compressor and condenser)
Starting in 2006, Federal standards made it mandatory that you replace both the indoor and outdoor AC units when you install a new energy efficient air conditioner. Mixing old outdoor units with newer indoor units, or vice versa, leads to low energy efficiency and can severely damage expensive components of your air conditioner.
Should you install a heat pump?
Having an energy efficient air conditioner and clunky old furnace won’t do you much good! But instead of installing both a new air conditioner and a new furnace, combine the two by installing a high efficiency heat pump! Not only do heat pumps combine your air conditioner and furnace into one system, but they also heat your home for much, much less when it comes time to run your furnace. And as an added bonus, during the summer heat pumps can provide you with basically free hot water!
Is your duct work up to par?
Even the most energy efficient air conditioner can be extremely wasteful if your ductwork is leaky or improperly sized. Your HVAC contractor will be able to tell you if upgrading your ductwork will help your new energy efficient air conditioner work even better.
Installing an Energy Efficient Air Conditioner Could Qualify You for Rebates
While the exact amount and type of rebates you can expect varies depending on where you live, many energy companies offer significant tax credits and rebates to homeowners who install energy efficient air conditioners. These rebates usually add up to hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars in savings, which can significantly offset the upfront costs of installation.
If you’ve been thinking about installing an energy efficient air conditioner in your Baltimore, Maryland area home, call All Seasons Heating & Cooling today. We can take care of all the details and make sure your air conditioner is as energy efficient as it can be!