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Cool Shopping

We are well into summer now and after the severe heat we have experienced, your air conditioner might be on its last leg. Since we do not purchase air conditioning very often in our lives, I have put together a few facts about new air conditioning efficiencies to help you make the best decision on which air conditioner to choose.

Today it seems everything we purchase is getting increasingly expensive. With tariffs, raw materials continue to climb in price and air conditioners are manufactured with both steel and quite a bit of copper. Because of this, new air conditioning prices are pretty sizable but a new highly efficient system will save you a lot on your electricity bill.

The efficiency of new air conditioning systems is always rated by a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The higher the SEER the less electricity your unit will consume. As of January 2006, all residential air conditioners sold in the United States must have a SEER of at least 13. If your unit is over twenty year old it could possibly have a SEER rating of around 8 or even less. Changing your unit to a 13 SEER model will return to you electrical savings of at least 60%. Changing from an 8 SEER to a 16 SEER will cut your cooling bill in half. A 16 SEER unit in an average sized home will have a total cooling bill of only $189.00 for the entire year, not too bad considering I have heard customers getting monthly bills higher than that using their old air conditioners.

So what efficiency should you consider? The first question I will ask is how long do you intend to stay in your home. You want to recover the extra cost of going to a higher efficiency and since a 17 SEER is approx. 50% more to purchase over a 13 SEER, you will need to stay in your home quite a while to recover your costs. But there is more to the picture. Most 17 SEER units are two-stage so you are not just buying efficiency, you are buying comfort. A two-stage unit runs slower in mild temperatures and does a much better job of removing humidity from your home than a single stage air conditioner. Most 17 SEER units are covered by a better warranty and are quieter than a 13 SEER.

Bottom line, a 13 SEER unit will save you a sizable amount of money over your old system, but, if your budget allows, the 16 SEER will save you even more and is a great and comfortable investment if you are planning on staying in your home.