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Price vs. Cost

ART Plumbing AC & Electric
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Welcome back my friends to another end of the workweek.

We are calling today “Fun With Numbers Friday”! As discussed in the past, your air conditioning system is one of the most expensive investments you will ever make in your home. So, with a little help from Florida Power & Light, I want to show you the difference Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratings (SEER) can make on the price of your new AC system vs. the actual cost.

First of all, if you want to see first-hand where these numbers for estimated cooling cost are coming from, jump over to this link: It’s also a nice overall read in terms of saving money on energy.

Our subject house today is approximately 2,000 sq. ft. and the load calculations have come in, telling us our home requires 47,400 BTU’s of cooling, or a four-ton system. We have the size, so now let’s look at two different options for our four-ton equipment choices. The first unit is going to have a 20 SEER rating with all the bells and whistles, so it gives maximum comfort and uses the least electricity. The second unit is the most basic of units with a 14 SEER rating, which is the minimum SEER rating you can install per building code.

Now, let the fun with numbers begin!

  • System #1: 20 SEER, Installed price is $8,498, annual cost to operate $679
  • System #2: 14 SEER, Installed price is $4,392, annual cost to operate $962

As you know, I tend to lean on the conservative side when estimating numbers, so for today’s example I am basing the final numbers on my educated opinion that 10 years from now electricity is going to cost at least 10% more than today, that said, let’s take a look at estimated electrical costs.

  • System #1: $679 x 10 = $6,790 plus 10% = $7,469 electrical cost for 10 years
  • System #2: $962 x 10 = $9,620 plus 10% = $10,582 electrical cost for 10 years

Ok, are you with me so far? The energy use cost difference between our top of the line system and bottom of the barrel is $3,113. The install price difference is $4,106 so on paper what looks like a $4,000 difference in price is actually a little over $1,000 in cost.

The next question becomes, is your enhanced comfort over the next 10 years’ worth an extra $100 per year? I know all those numbers can get confusing so if your brain is spinning a little right now I’m sorry.

Moral to the story is if you are planning on staying in your home for the next ten years or longer, be extra careful in making the decision on what air conditioner you are going to install, because when you really break it down there is not a lot of difference in the cost of the two units when you step back and look at a ten year period.

I can also make a pretty strong case that our 20 SEER unit is going to need fewer repairs than the basic 14 SEER model, as the equipment is better built with higher overall quality materials.

As usual, I can be found with a quick email at, and you can schedule your estimate today by calling 1-800-475-1504, or we are a click away at This concludes today’s air conditioning economics lesson.

House Whisperer out!!


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