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Air Conditioning, Energy Efficiency and How to Get Both

Central air conditioning is a wonderful thing. Ask anyone who doesn’t have it! But there’s more than your comfort to consider these days. Energy efficiency, costs, and how your house uses and loses energy are all a concern. If you’re building a new home or are just in the market for a new air conditioner, these are the things you need to know.

Your Contractor

An improperly installed HVAC system will result in higher utility bills and less comfort, so first things first: do your homework to find the licensed contractor with the best reputation.

The right contractor will start by assessing your home thoroughly. They need to check out your home’s needs top to bottom. They should measure walls, windows and floors and assess the insulation throughout your home, especially in the attic. Most importantly, they’ll have diagnostic equipment that will check the ductwork in your home for leaks or crushed airways.

Finally, your contractor should urge you to get the best air conditioning system for your home.

Size Is Important

An undersized unit has to work much harder to cool the air, which is like throwing dollars out the front door. An oversized unit will turn off and on, won’t dehumidify the air properly, and can even be noisy. Have your contractor use the sizing manual put out by the Air Conditioning Contractors of America before you begin to choose the model for you.

Energy Efficiency and Your Money

Luckily, today’s air conditioning systems are built to the highest standards for energy efficiency, which means you’ll save money on your monthly bill. Newer model central air-conditioning systems have many convenient and energy-saving features that automatically adjust your thermostat to turn functions on or off for highest efficiency and better cooling. They’ll even tell you when to change your filter. (Usually every month.)

How To Determine Energy Efficiency

When shopping for a new unit, there are two things to look for. First, the SEER rating. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and basically means how much energy a system uses for the amount of cooling it produces. This should appear on the product. Since 2006, air conditioners have been required by federal law to have a SEER rating of 13 or higher. The higher that number is, the more energy-efficient the model is. Secondly, simply look for the ENERGY STAR® label. ENERGY STAR is a US Environmental Protection Agency program aimed at improving energy usage and costs for everyone. You can’t go wrong with an ENERGY STAR product.

Knowing and understanding these important factors before you buy will allow you to make all the right choices for your home and family. Then you can enjoy the cost savings that come from increased energy efficiency year after year.