Most homeowners don’t give their air conditioners a second thought until it breaks down. Then it has all your attention and you want it fixed ASAP! Having some knowledge of the terms associated with air conditioners can help you save thousands of dollars. It’s helpful to know about these terms before you have your air conditioner repaired. It can make a huge difference in how much you’ll spend in power bills in the long-term and will also be helpful when you decide it’s time to buy a new one.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)
A SEER rating measures how efficient an AC system is. When an AC unit is more efficient, it will be less expensive to run and it’s also better for the environment. The minimum SEER rating for any systems produced today is 13. However, there are older systems that still have SEER ratings of six or less. Up to $415 can be saved each year with an air conditioning system that has a SEER rating of 16 or more. Higher SEER ratings mean youll spend more upfront, but the long-term savings will be well worth the initial cost. The SEER rating you go with will depend on where you live. If you live somewhere where you’ll only turn your air conditioners on a few days every year, then an AC unit with a high SEER rating doesn’t make financial sense.
Modulation & Humidity
Air conditioners that are modulated, or have variable-speed, are less expensive to operate because they vary the amount of energy used to power the air conditioner. This allows for an even temperature rather than feeling like the house is freezing when it turns on and feeling very warm when it turns off. Humidity is a factor in how warm you feel, and modulated systems are good at controlling humidity. The air conditioner doesn’t need to be set as high if humidity is under control. Modulate systems can save you more than $800 a year. If you’re running your air conditioner nonstop and you still feel hot, the culprit is likely humidity. There are units on the market that control humidity that don’t need to be modulated. These units can save upwards of $300 a year.
Traditional air conditioners use a refrigerant cooling system where the air is cooled down with the coolant in the coils and then forced into your home. This can use a lot of energy. A heat pump is an alternative to that pulls heat out of the air in your home and takes it outside. This is a very efficient way to transfer heat and can save lots of money, more as much as $700 a year. Heat pumps can also gather heat from outside your home and bringing it indoors in the winter. If you live in an area that is very cold in the winter, you may need a duel-fuel system that uses a heat pump in the milder months but still uses a gas furnace as backup in the winter. There are different types of heat pumps, so do your research or talk with professionals.