If you are in the market for an upgraded cooling system, you may have heard about the importance of buying an energy efficient unit. Yet, talking about energy efficiency often involves technical and confusing terms. Don’t worry — there are a few basic things you can learn that will make your next call to air conditioning installers a lot easier:
What is energy efficiency and why is it important?
Energy efficiency simply refers to the ratio between the amount of power your AC unit consumes and the rate at which it cools the air. Thus, an energy efficient system is one that uses very little electricity, but cools your home relatively quickly.
Energy efficient air conditioning is important for at least two reasons:
First, it will help you by reducing your utility bill. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), more than half the money that a household spends on energy goes toward heating and cooling. Thus, although an energy efficient system can be a more expensive buy at first, you will save a lot of money in the long run — especially during summer.
Secondly, energy efficient cooling can help to reduce the effects of global warming. This is because ACs that use less energy will emit less carbon dioxide. Thus, you can care for the environment and save money at the same time when you install an energy efficient AC.
How do I know if my system is energy efficient?
Your AC unit’s energy rating indicates how efficient it is. There are two main rating systems that manufacturers use: the SEER rating is used on central AC systems and the EER rating on room AC units.
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and shows how efficient the AC is over one cooling season. In other words, the SEER rating indicates how much cooling the system provides (measured in British thermal units or Btu) in relation to the amount of energy it consumes (measured in watts per hour). The EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) of a unit indicates the same relationship, but for a room cooling system. In either case, a higher rating means that the AC is more energy efficient. The DOE requires that all ACs in South Florida must be rated 14 SEER or more (although the national minimum is 13 SEER).
You will find this rating on the unit’s EnergyGuide label which every manufacturer is required to display. You can also look out for an ENERGY STAR® label. Units with this label have a high SEER or EER rating and are at least 15% more efficient than other units. One important thing to remember is that these ratings only indicate the theoretical efficiency. The amount of energy your AC will actually consume depends on its size and how you actually use it.
What can I do to make cooling my home more energy efficient?
In addition to investing in an AC with a high SEER or EER rating, you can reduce your energy use for cooling in a number of ways:
With these basics in mind, you can easily talk to air conditioning installers about energy efficient cooling. Be sure to contact a professional to find out more about how you can save costs while also making sure your air conditioning is environmentally friendly.
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