SEER rating are the method used to describe the efficiency of a particular equipment system. SEER stands for “Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio”. The systems purchased today typically range from 10.00 SEER to 18.00 SEER. If you have a home and the current system is 10-15 years old, you may have a system that ranges from 6.0 SEER to 10.00 SEER. Of course at the time it was installed, 10.00 SEER was considered “High Efficiency”. Today, with all the focus on conservation and energy savings, that “High Efficiency 10.00 SEER” from 10-15 years ago is growing obsolete.
In the chart, the left column indicates operating costs and the gradually decreasing scale shows how with a higher SEER rating (numbers along bottom of chart) the operating costs are reduced. In essence, if you would have spent $100 to operate an 8.00 SEER system, by installing a 14.00 SEER system, your operating costs would drop to $57.00 as opposed to the $100 spent operating the lower efficiency system. These are estimates only, and designed to show that with the higher the SEER rating, the lower the operating costs.
If you have a 6.0 SEER, and you installed a new 12.00 SEER or 13.00 SEER system, you would cut your power consumption in half (in regard to your AC System). Considering that in many cases the central air system represents the largest draw on power in your home, any improvement is a wise decision.
The systems today are very advanced as you move up in the efficiency range. They cost a bit more at initial purchase, but when you calculate the energy savings -vs- dollars spent they pay for themselves fairly quickly.
Lets look at an example:
Current system is 6.0 SEER and power bill runs $150.00 per month.
A 10.00 SEER system is $1500.00 and your power bill may be $125.00 per month.
Upgrade to a 14.00 SEER system for an additional $800.00 and your power bill drops to $90.00 per month.
The price between the 10.00 SEER and the 14.00 SEER is $800.00. The monthly savings equate to $35.00 per month (14.00 SEER -vs- 10.00 SEER). Take the $800.00 difference and divide that by the $35.00 savings and you would pay off the improved system through energy savings in 22.86 months. Less than 2 years.
No matter what, you were going to replace the system with at least a 10.00 SEER system.
Improved power bill, increased value of home, and your system won’t be obsolete in 2 years. Wise decision. Bear in mind, the ratio of savings varies from household to household as people live differently in each case. The example given above is strictly as an example and there is no guarantee that you will see that exact example in your home.
Cooling efficiency is measured in SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) and heat pump heating in HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor).
Ratings works like gas mileage on your car. SEER VS. Cooling Chart The higher the SEER or HSPF number, the higher the efficiency and the greater the energy savings.* For instance, if your old unit is 10 to 15 years old, the efficiency rating could be a wasteful 6 SEER. This chart gives you a sample of you how much you could save by upgrading to the Comfortmaker system that fits your needs.
* Savings percentages based on national averages at 10 SEER and may vary according to efficiency of current unit and temperature zone location.
These are just a few ideas that are proven to work. Common sense should prevail in regard to maintaining your unit. A maintenance plan generally cost less than $200.00 per year all across the country and is a wise decision. It could mean the difference between your unit lasting only 8 years or lasting 20 years.
Ah, summer. For those with AC, it’s a wonderful season full of outdoor (and indoor!) fun; for those without, it can be miserable and even dangerous. Homeowners in the market for a new central air conditioner will be pleased to know that today’s central air conditioning units are far more efficient than models even just 10 years old.
Here’s a guide to choosing the right central air conditioning unit for your house’s needs.
Conventional Central Air Conditioning Units: A conventional air conditioner system works by drawing hot, humid air into return ductwork, cooling and dehumidifying it and returning it into the room. The newly cooled and dehumidified air is much more comfortable. Central air conditioning units can be split, meaning there is a condenser/compressor unit outside and an evaporator unit inside, usually mounted on the furnace or an air handler. Units can also come packaged, where the compressor and evaporator are in a single unit is outside.
If you are planning to retrofit an existing home with central air, a conventional system can use the house’s established duct work if the heat is forced air. If your home doesn’t have ductwork, it will need to be installed in the attic, basement or crawlspace. This drives up the cost, making installation sometimes out of reach
Ductless Central Air Conditioning Units: In this case, homeowners might consider a ductless system, sometimes referred to as a mini-split system. It works using an outdoor compressor that serves individual units that contain an evaporator and blower fan. These are usually placed on the top half of a room’s exterior walls. Units are large, but relatively unobtrusive. It is often more expensive than a conventional unit, but homeowners can save a lot of money by not having to have their homes fitted with duct work. As opposed to window units, a ductless system is quieter, doesn’t block your view and will also heat the home.
After you select a type of central air conditioning unit, you’ll need to determine what size and what level of efficiency is needed to best serve your needs and stay within your budget.
Size: Get a central air unit that is too big, and your house will be damp and cold and it will cycle on and off too much. If it is too small, it will not be able to keep up and could freeze. A lot goes into determining the size of the air conditioning unit: size of the home, number of stories, insulation, number and quality of the windows, amount of direct sunlight and even the amount of shade your home gets. Collectively, this is called a cooling load analysis. The HVAC technician who you work with will do this for you, but you can go to www.northernac.com to get a general idea of what you will need.
Efficiency: Today’s low-efficiency units are as good as high-efficiency central air units made just 10 to 12 years ago. With the price of energy skyrocketing, it’s a great time to replace an old unit. You could save 30 to 50 percent on cooling costs and reduce your home’s environmental footprint.
Central air conditioning units have a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) making it easy for consumers to know how efficient a system is. The higher the number, the more efficient the unit. The standard number is 13.
Filter: If you have a family member who suffers from allergies or asthma, air quality is important. Look for an AC unit with a high Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV). A rating of 8 is standard.
Noise: If quiet is important, look for a unit with a Scroll compressor.
You can expect to pay a lot for central air conditioning. According to CostHelper.com, the price can be anywhere from $3,500 -$7,000, depending on a variety of factors, including the size of your home, what needs to be done and the efficiency of the model you choose. If you need duct work installed, it can run $8,000-$10,000 or more.
Choosing an air conditioning unit that will work most efficiently in your home is important. A professional installer – or a manufacturer representative, if you plan to do it yourself – can help you determine which unit is best.