This is a question that HVAC installers frequently get. The word efficiency is thrown about often when it comes to major appliances today, and sometimes exactly what it means for a specific piece of equipment can be lost. However, when most people think of an appliance as “efficient,” they connect that to “saving money by lowering bills.” And this can be the case. But not necessarily.
High-efficiency air conditioning systems can be excellent new installations for homes, and we often recommend them for customers who are hunting for replacement air conditioning in Spring Hill, FL, or elsewhere in our service area. But no AC can be a guarantee of lower bills, because other factors come into play. If you work with professionals for your AC installation, your chance of getting a new system that will save you money is much higher.
What the Efficiency Rating Means
AC efficiency is listed as two ratings: EER (energy efficiency ratio) and SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio). They are both ratios of cooling output to electricity consumption, but EER is tested under a single set of conditions while SEER is tested under a range of conditions to simulate a full season of cooling. SEER is always higher than EER, and the higher the number, the more efficienct the system. The minimum EER/SEER for air conditioners to meet the US Department of Energy’s ENERGY STAR requirements is 12.5 EER/15 SEER or higher.
Here is what’s important to understand about these ratings in practice: they are the maximum efficiency performance for a system. A high-efficiency air conditioner with a 21 SEER will not work like a 21 SEER system whenever it’s running. As conditions change, its effective SEER will drop. If an air conditioner is not properly sized and matched to a home, it will not often work up to its EER/SEER rating and won’t contribute to savings. Since high-efficiency air conditioners are more expensive than mid-efficiency ones, it could end up being a money-loser.
Finding the Ideal AC
Many important factors go into finding the best new air conditioner for a house, and efficiency is only one of them. Sizing the air conditioner is perhaps the most important: an AC must be large enough to provide even cooling to the whole house, but not so large that it wastes power and starts to short-cycle. To size an air conditioner, you’ll need professionals to perform a load calculation for the house, which determines the amount of cooling power necessary for even comfort.
If you are interested in a high-efficiency air conditioner, ask our team about the choices. It may be that your home is suited to a mid-efficiency system. Or we may find that a high-efficiency air conditioner is a good option for energy savings. We’ll help you take all factors into account so that you’re happy with the final installation and it will work for you for many years to come.
Experience the Balanced Air, Inc. difference! Call us today to find out more about your options for better air conditioning.