Now that spring has arrived, it won’t be long before coastal Florida begins to really heat up, and you’ll be needing your air conditioner all the time. If you think your A/C needs to be replaced, now’s the time to do it. Of course, that means spending some money. Fortunately, if you go with one of the high efficiency units on the market today, your investment will come back to you in savings cooling season after cooling season. Remember, too, those very attractive energy tax credits for high-efficiency replacements have been restored.
Efficiency ratings and what they mean
Air conditioners have two efficiency ratings: the seasonal energy efficiency ratio and the energy efficiency rating. The SEER rating measures an air conditioner’s efficiency over a cooling season. Efficiency rises with the SEER number. The EER measures a unit’s efficiency on the hottest, most humid days. Again, efficiency rises with the EER number.
Today’s energy-efficient air conditioners have SEER and EER ratings that are far higher than the older units in many homes — which can have ratings below 10. If your unit is just a decade old, you could shave 20 to 40 percent off your operating costs by replacing it with a high-efficiency unit. Look for a model with a SEER rating that’s higher than 16 — the minimum for high-efficiency units — and an EER that’s higher than 11.6.
Additional features to consider
Today’s energy-efficient air conditioners have many other features that can enhance both savings and your comfort. Consider the following when you’re making your decision:
- A fan-only switch. Using just the fan on milder Florida nights can lower your operating costs.
- A variable-speed air handler.
- A filter light switch that alerts you when it’s time for a change.
- An automatic-delay fan switch. This will turn off the fan a few minutes after the compressor goes off.
You’ll also want to look for a unit that runs quietly. A noisy air conditioner can be mildly to highly irritating when you’re carrying on conversations or watching TV.
Even the most efficient air conditioner won’t give you the maximum return on investment if it’s not sized and installed correctly. Make sure you work with a highly qualified contractor who will follow industry-standard guidelines. In the Lantana area, that means working with Robert R. McGill Air Conditioning. We can help you select the system that’s ideal for your home, and then we can see to it that it’s installed correctly and kept in tip-top shape. Give us a call to get started.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Palm Beach County, Florida about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
Image courtesy of Shutterstock
Filed under: Air Conditioner
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