May 07, 2019

Should I Upgrade My Air Conditioner?

Home Improvement

If you prefer saving money, yes. If not, then no probably not.

You likely only use your air conditioner during summer, so who cares if isn’t that efficient? It’s not like you care about having a cool home during the sweltering summer heat. Even if you do, surely money is no object and you don’t care if your electricity bill is really high. Still, we’ll break down how (un)important energy efficiency is.

Energy Efficient Air Conditioning

Air conditioners are available in a wide range of efficiency levels, which correlate directly with electrical usage and cost per month. There is even a rating system to quantify just how inefficient your air conditioner can be to ensure that you score those high electricity bills!

The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER rating, is a gauge of how much cooling an air conditioner can put out per unit of electricity. The higher the SEER rating, the better performing the air conditioner is. Better is relative though, you might prefer a lower SEER rating, who knows?

Assuming you do like money, a SEER rating of 25 is perfect. Assuming you don’t like money, a SEER rating of 1 is great. It goes both ways. However, as of 2005, new air conditioners have to have a minimum SEER rating of 13. Too bad for you I guess.

How Much Extra Money You Can Spend

Considering ¾ of homes in America have an air conditioner, let’s discuss the importance of energy efficiency in dollar terms. According to the US Department of Energy, air conditioners suck up 6% of all electricity produced in the United States: an annual cost of $29 billion to homeowners (small potatoes).

In your own home, switching to an air conditioner that has a 1 point lower SEER rating cuts your energy efficiency by 7%. That small difference could mean extra costs of up to $75 per year! Go down 8 points, $600 more dollars will be disappearing into thin, but cool air.  

Finding the Right Replacement For Your Air Conditioner

If you do decide to get a new air conditioner, you might want to start by looking at ENERGY STAR® appliances. ENERGY STAR certifies a wide array of products that can help you make your home more efficient, better for the environment and better on your wallet, including air conditioners.

In addition to choosing the right kind of air conditioner for your home, pay attention to sizing and installation. These two factors make a difference in the maximizing the efficiency and output of your air conditioner.

Key Takeaways

If you like wasting electricity, if you like hurting the environment and if you like burning money, consider downgrading your air conditioner to a more energy inefficient model!

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