A new air conditioner doesn’t sound like the most glamorous upgrade to your home, but it could save you a significant amount on your monthly electrical bill while keeping you cooler. We’re not talking about chump change here, A/C units use about 5 percent of all the electricity produced in the United States, costing homeowners more than $11 billion annually. An old air conditioner could be costing you more than necessary in electricity, and if it’s getting close to the end of its life, may be a ticking time-bomb financially. Take a look below at the 4 reasons why a new A/C unit is worth the upgrade cost:
Only 15 years ago, the standard SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) of the best available air conditioner was around 6 to 8. Today, the minimum allowable SEER rating for a new unit in the southern region is 14. The jump in efficiency equates to much less energy being consumed by your system, costing you less monthly. Hypothetically, if you have an older system from 10 years ago with a SEER rating of 10. If you were to upgrade your HVAC system to one with a SEER rating of 15, which is just above the minimum allowable rating, you would save 33% on your energy costs for the year. There are higher-efficiency systems available on the market that could save you even more.
Newer systems can regulate the temperature in your home more precisely than older models. A new air conditioner will use less energy to lower the temperature and when paired with effective insulation, will keep your home cooler for longer. The progression of technology has not just been limited to increasing electric-usage efficiency, improvements in fan-blade shape and compressor technology, some models make one-twentieth the noise of old units. Some new systems can even retrieve information about the weather outside via the internet to automatically adjust the temperature inside accordingly. New units may be compatible with smart devices that can optimize your system’s energy usage, while also giving you detailed reports on your system’s energy usage.
A new air conditioner can offer more than just a basic interface. Modern systems can be compatible with smart thermostats, and through the thermostat, your smartphone. Smart thermostats give you the most possible control over your home’s temperature. If you happen to be out of the house, or out of the country even, you can adjust the temperature of your home just by opening the thermostat’s app. Smart thermostats also monitor the air quality in your home and will turn on the fan automatically to clean the air if the pollen, dust, or mold particle count crosses a preset threshold. A newer A/C Unit may also be able to connect to The Weather Channel and adjust the temperature in your home accordingly. The smart thermostat can prepare detailed reports based on energy consumption and other measurables that can help increase your air conditioner’s efficiency in the future. An A/C upgrade is not only in your wallet’s best interest, but is a good idea with your health in mind, especially if you are sensitive to seasonal allergies.
In the past, R-22 refrigerant was the standard throughout the industry. More recently, the EPA has classified the coolant as an “ozone depleting substance” and has decreed that it will be completely phased out by the year 2020. An older system that still utilizes this coolant is not illegal, but the R-22 refrigerant has become quite scarce, and the dwindling supply has driven the price of the substance through the roof. In the past two years it has gone up thirty percent per year, and the cost is predicted to continue to rise. New air conditioners use a different refrigerant, usually either R-134a or R-410A, and the cost is much lower as the materials are more readily available. If you have an older air conditioner, and you need to have the coolant flushed and replaced, you are looking at a hefty bill from your service technician. A new system will cost much less to service in this regard, and will help lessen potential environmental damage. When it comes to having your air conditioner serviced, the upgrade to a new system will save you a substantial amount on routine maintenance costs.
Replacing your air conditioner can be a headache, but an old a/c unit may be costing you hundreds of dollars more per year than a new one. If your air conditioner is more than a ten years old, it may be time to upgrade, especially if it uses the R-22 refrigerant that has become so scarce. Upgrading won’t only save you money monthly on electricity usage, it will offer you more options than ever before, including the possible compatibility with devices such as smart thermostats. If you have any questions about your current system or your options when upgrading, please drop us a line here!