Central air conditioning uses more electricity than any single component in the home. If your present AC has been on the job for a decade or more, you may benefit from a substantial reduction in operating costs by upgrading to a new standard-efficiency unit. Making the switch is a matter of choosing the correct replacement for your needs at the right time, before your existing AC becomes a liability due to lost efficiency and expensive repairs.
Size the AC System Correctly
Any decision on a new central air conditioner must be preceded by a cooling load calculation performed by a qualified HVAC professional using industry-standard software. Sizing a central AC refers to matching its cooling capacity in BTUs with the unique thermal characteristics of the home. Oversized or undersized air conditioners are no bargain. They’re energy wasters that deliver poor comfort performance and shorter expected service life.
Today, it is always a good idea to couple this evaluation with a thorough Energy Audit for your home. This is always a good first step to make sure that you tightening up your home efficiency in the right order and prioritizing the best projects first.
SEER for Savings
Central air conditioning energy consumption is rated by the seasonal energy efficiency rating (SEER) scale. A higher SEER rating represents greater efficiency. Here in Ohio, the federally mandated SEER minimum for a standard-efficiency unit is 13. However, high-efficiency AC units offer SEER ratings above 20.
Standard or High Efficiency?
High-efficiency units in the SEER range of more than 20 offer the most impressive energy savings, but the sticker price is also impressively higher than a SEER 13 unit. While lower operating expenses helps compensate for the steep upfront cost from day one, eventual cost payback depends on variables like the length of the local cooling season and the overall efficiency of the house. Your HVAC contractor can help you make the right call.
Optional Equipment Efficiency and performance of central air conditioning can be enhanced by one or more of these advanced features:
A thermal expansion valve, which adjusts refrigerant flow according to cooling load
Variable speed fan for more consistent and economical air circulation
Fan-only option for cool nights
A two-stage compressor to improve cooling performance
Maintenance reminder lights
For more advice on upgrading to new central air conditioning, contact the professionals at P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling by calling 1-855-996-5675.