Energy Efficient Air Conditioner Buying Tips
By: Danny Lipford
Whether you’re replacing an existing air conditioner or purchasing one for a new home, investing in an energy efficient unit with a high SEER rating will save money over time. While the initial cost of an energy efficient unit is higher, the money saved on your monthly utility bills more than make up for it over the life of the unit.
The energy efficiency of an air conditioner is measured by its SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating. The higher the SEER number, the more efficient the air conditioner, which means more money savings for you in the years to come.
The minimum SEER rating mandated by the federal government was raised from 10 to 13 in 2006, with units available as high as a SEER 24. At present, energy efficient models are usually in the 16 to 18 SEER range.
To qualify as an Energy Star model, an air conditioner must be in the top 25% on energy efficiency, with a minimum EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) of 11.5 for split systems and 11 for single unit models.
Newer air conditioners are also much quieter than older units. To further minimize noise levels:
- Place the unit as far away from your home as possible.
- Use a fence or shrubbery to shield compressor noise.
Watch this video to find out more.
- Air Conditioners: From Maintenance to Buying New (article)
- AC Summer Maintenance Tips for Your Home (video)
- HVAC System Heating and Cooling Maintenance Tips (video)
- Tips for Dealing with HVAC Pros (article)
Danny Lipford: When you’re in a position to choose an air conditioning system for your new home, or you may be replacing one that’s gone bad, you can save yourself a lot of money over the years on your energy bill by choosing one with the highest SEER rating possible.
Now SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, and the higher the rating, the more money you’ll save over the years. Of course the higher the rating, the more it will cost you up front; but with the energy bills these days, it won’t take long before you’ll start realizing the payback.
Now these particular units are about a year old, and this homeowner chose one of the highest ratings available on the market with an 18. Many of these units will be anywhere—12, 14, 16 SEER ratings. And again, they’ll cost a little bit more, but it certainly makes a difference over the years.
Now, newer units are a lot quieter than the ones in the past, and that’s an important consideration when you’re choosing a place to position these condenser units. Now, this is right outside a fence in a nice little entertainment area these homeowners have, and that certainly quiets it down with the fence. But the shrubbery around it also contributes to keeping these from interfering with those nice days of relaxing in the backyard.