If you are in the market for a new air conditioner, it is important to remember that not all air conditioners are created equal. Two A/C units might be the same size, and provide the same cooling power, but there can be a dramatic difference in how much energy each one consumes. And though high efficiency air conditioners may cost more than a standard A/C, the energy savings and incentives can often make them the better long-term value.
There are different ways to measure how efficient an air conditioner is, but the most practical comparison is the unit’s SEER number. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. We can explain the details of how it is calculated, if you want, but all you really need to know is that a higher SEER number means the air conditioner will use less electricity over the course of the year. A 20 SEER air conditioner, for example, would use half as much electricity as a 10 SEER system. All new A/C units are required to have a SEER rating of at least 13, but high-efficiency air conditioners can have ratings of 20 or more.
You can get an idea of the impact high-efficiency air conditioners have on electric bills by utilizing Energy Star’s free cost calculator worksheet. Select the nearest city to your home — Portland or Salem — and choose the electric rate, A/C size, and SEER rating for the models you want to compare. It will calculate both the expected electric bill savings, and the environmental impact.
Besides the long-term energy savings, there are also federal tax credits, Oregon state tax credits, and other incentives that you can receive for choosing high-efficiency air conditioners if your home and system qualify.
To find out what incentives or rebates you may be eligible for, and to get a professional evaluation of how much a high efficiency air conditioner might save you on your utility bills, contact the Portland-area experts at Roth Heating & Cooling, Plumbing & Electrical!