According to Energy Star, nearly half the energy you use goes into heating and cooling your home.1 Therefore, upgrading your air conditioning system can save you money in the long run. The prospect of lower bills may be tempting. But there are many considerations when shopping around for a high-efficiency AC system. We’ll explain a few to help make the process easier for you.
Air Conditioner Size
You should not automatically choose an AC that’s the same size or capacity as your old one. It might not have been perfectly sized to begin with. Make sure your HVAC contractor performs a Manual J load calculation that factors in your home’s square footage, layout, number of windows, placement of heat-generating appliances, shading, outside landscaping, and more.
Homeowners often think that installing a bigger AC will cool their homes faster. An oversized unit will cool an area quicker, but it will turn on and off too frequently, straining equipment and wasting energy. The equipment will probably not last as long. Too small an air conditioner will work even harder to provide cooling, increasing energy consumption and wear and tear.
Even the highest-efficiency air conditioners must be sized correctly to achieve comfort and energy savings.
Energy Efficiency Rating
The unit’s efficiency rating isn’t a guarantee. It’s more of a measure of the potential for energy savings. An air conditioner’s seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) indicates the system’s maximum energy efficiency and measures how much cooling power it delivers in a season compared to the energy consumed.
A mid-efficiency system is rated about 15 SEER and a higher-efficiency model may have a 20 SEER rating. But that doesn’t mean a 20 SEER unit won’t perform like a 17 SEER model depending on how it’s installed and the given operating conditions. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the AC, and the more expensive it is.
That brings us to another important consideration. High-efficiency ACs are expensive to install. But they do save money over time. It can just take several years for savings on your monthly energy bills to pay back the cost of the system. Whether a high-efficiency unit is affordable depends on your budget.
For the system to reach maximum efficiency, the indoor and outdoor units must match. Plan to replace both to avoid having mismatched components. If they don’t match, it will reduce performance and lead to higher energy costs—also, factor in potential ductwork, electrical, and other modifications that may be required.
What Are Your Options?
Central air conditioners can work quite efficiently if your ductwork is in good shape. Consider installing a mini-split AC system if you have faulty ductwork or no ducts in your home. A mini-split consists of zoned units for each room, all connected to an outdoor condenser unit. The ability to control the temperature of every room independently improves energy efficiency. Mini-splits are also quiet and can yield better air quality.
Is Your Existing AC Due for Replacement?
Start planning for an upgrade before your current AC gives out. Regular tune-ups enable a technician to estimate how much life your unit has left. If your AC is over 10 years old, start looking into high-efficiency options. Begin to weigh your options if the system runs constantly, makes a lot of noise, your home is humid, and your energy bills are climbing. Lots of dust and dirt in your home can also mean your air conditioner isn’t working as well.
Opportunities to Save
If you’re looking to install a high-efficiency AC for this summer, it will be an investment. But manufacturer rebates, equipment specials and deals, and tax credits are just a few financial incentives you can find. Check with your local AC installation company for discounts. And inquire about financing, as paying for the unit over time can make it more affordable.
Call Hoover for Help Upgrading to a High-Efficiency AC System
Hoover Electric Plumbing Heating Cooling specializes in high-quality AC replacement. We provide the latest options, including mini-split air conditioners. From equipment specials to financing from Wells Fargo and Michigan Saves, we help customers in Southeast Michigan afford the HVAC systems they need. Schedule a full evaluation, installation service, or AC maintenance in Clinton Township by contacting us online or calling (586) 991-3709.