- Air Conditioning
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August 6, 2020
Summer in the Sacramento Valley has already put homeowners through the wringer, with temperatures rising into the 100s, well above historical averages. If you’ve been able to stay comfortable the past few months, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ve been running your AC on high, and you’re probably dealing with higher energy bills than you’d like.
Does staying cool in Davis, Dixon, or Vacaville in the summer heat require spending a ton of money? Are new air conditioners more efficient, and would buying a new central AC lead to monthly energy savings? Let’s explore how AC efficiency is determined, and whether you can benefit by upgrading.
How Energy Efficiency Is Measured in Air Conditioners
Consider how much technology has advanced in the last twenty years — cars are now getting more miles per gallon than ever (or going all electric), the prices of LED light bulbs continue to drop, and solar has become mainstream and more affordable. What does that mean for air conditioners?
The efficiency of air conditioners is measured in two primary ways: EER rating (energy efficiency ratio) and SEER rating (seasonal energy efficiency ratio).
EER measures the efficiency of an air conditioner when the outdoor air is at a specific temperature: 95°F. SEER is similar, but it takes into account how efficient your AC will be at different times of the year, when the air outside is at different temperatures. SEER is useful to determine how energy efficient your air conditioner will be overall, while EER tells you how well it will perform when outdoor temperatures are at their peak.
What SEER Rating AC Do I Have and What Do I Need?
Like MPG ratings on cars, the higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the unit is. The Department of Energy recommends purchasing an air conditioning system of at least SEER 15, but the most energy efficient central air conditioners have SEER ratings above 25! Even if your current air conditioner is only ten years old, by upgrading to a new, more efficient system, you can save between 20-40% on your cooling costs.
Unsure what SEER rating your current central air conditioning system has? Look on your outside condenser unit for a yellow and black rating sticker.
Beyond Central AC: Ultra Energy Efficient Mini-Split Heat Pumps
If you’re interested in providing targeted cooling to a specific room or area of your home, mini-split heat pumps are the best choice and have even higher efficiency ratings than AC units. Unlike central air conditioners that cool a whole home equally, mini-split heat pumps create unique zones that can be cooled or heated, depending on the season.
Since heat pumps have both cooling and heating settings, they are rated in two different ways as well. Their cooling efficiency is measured by the same SEER rating as your central AC, but their heating setting is measured by HSPF (Heating Season Performance Factor). Similar to SEER, the higher the HSPF rating, the better, though HSPF ratings are generally between 8 and 12.
Benefits of Upgrading to a High-Efficiency AC
Energy efficient air conditioning systems use less energy to cool your home during the summer, but what other benefits can upgrading your home bring?
Higher home comfort
Reduced electricity bills
Smaller carbon footprint and minimized environmental impact
Since air conditioners become less efficient over time, if your system is over a decade old, replacing it with a new, high-efficiency unit will help you save money, and be more comfortable year-round. Plus, typical equipment warranties expire around 10 years after purchase, meaning the longer you wait to upgrade, the more likely your cost of repairs will increase as well.
Keep Cool and Save with Greiner Heating & Air Conditioning
Whether your system is outdated and needs to be replaced with an energy efficient air conditioner, or your unit still has some life in it but simply needs to be serviced or repaired, the team at Greiner is here to help. We’ve helped homeowners throughout Yolo & Solano Counties with their air conditioning needs for over 25 years, so we’ll be able to help you improve the comfort and energy efficiency of your home.
Plus, we’ll help you qualify for energy saving rebates that make upgrading your home more affordable, including up to $480 for PG&E customers. Find out more how you can save with Greiner today.