Purchasing An Air Conditioner
Indoor comfort control typically makes up at least half of the home's total energy bill. If your central air conditioning unit is more than 10 years old, replacing it with an Energy Star® qualified model could cut your cooling costs by an easy 30 percent! Things you should consider:
1. Efficiency Ratings & Refrigerant
The cooling efficiency of an air conditioner (or heat pump) is measured by a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER). The SEER rating measures how much energy is required to cool a certain space. The higher the SEER rating the less energy required to cool. As of 2009, the highest SEER rating you will typically find on residential air conditioners ranges from 18-21 SEER. 13 SEER is the government required minimum as of 2006.
You will hear talk about refrigerant because the older R-22 refrigerant has proved to be harmful to the environment. R-410A in the new refrigerant being used in modern air conditioners and heat pumps. *Note that R-410A is marketed under other names from other brands, but essentially it is the same regardless of brand.
Energy Star® approved air conditioners will obviously have a higher SEER rating than standard models, but you can still go a good deal higher than an Energy Star rating when purchasing your system. Remember, saving energy prevents pollution. By choosing an efficient AC you are helping make a better tomorrow while also saving on your monthly utility bills.