When choosing an air conditioning system for your home, you probably don’t know too much about it. Once it’s installed, most people simply forget about the unit until it malfunctions. Then they want it fixed as soon as possible. To get the biggest bang for your buck, it is important to understand certain A/C jargon before you fix your unit. Knowing and using these four terms can not only save you in electricity bills, but they can also help you out when purchasing a new unit.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)
SEER is simply a measure of a system’s efficiency. Not only are SEER systems cost effective, they are also better for the environment too. The U.S. Department of Energy states that 13 is the minimum SEER rating for systems produced today and a unit with a SEER rating of 16+ could save you around $415 every year.
Just like buying organic food, the better the product the more expensive it will cost upfront. Finding a balance for your home will depend on where you live and how much you use your A/C. Living in Florida, it would make sense to shoot for the higher SEER rating since our air conditioners are almost always running.
Modulated, or variable-speed, air conditioners are less expensive to run. Modulated systems can control the amount of energy used to power the system. They also can help control humidity, which is a main factor of how hot you feel inside your home. When the humidity of your house is more efficiently controlled, you can easily set your thermostat to a higher degree without suffering from the heat. Emerson Climate Technologies estimates that a modulated system could save you more than $870 per year.
As previously stated, indoor humidity is what makes you feel warmer, even if the A/C is running. Choosing an air conditioning system with humidity control will make you feel more comfortable and save you money over time.
Normally, an air conditioning unit uses a refrigerant cooling system. The coolant in the coils cools down the air, which is then spread throughout your home. This process will consume tons of energy. When using a heat pump, it pulls heat out of the air inside, and dumps it outside. It can also be used in reverse to collect heat from outside and transfer it in your home during the winter months.
Repair, Don’t Replace
Let’s say you purchased an entire system last year and want to know if you can make it more efficient. Yes, you can! According to Ed Purvis, the vice president of Emerson Climate Technologies, “Up to a third of systems installed today are running well below their rate of performance because of duct leakage, improper charging, and other maintenance issues. Ensuring your system is running right can sometimes be more beneficial than investing in an air conditioner with a higher SEER.”
Knowing these four terms can save you hundreds each year, so it is important to understand and use them to your advantage!