The area of the country you live in will also determine how important the air conditioning unit will be to you. If you are shopping for your new home in November, it may not be much of a consideratoin, but when that outside temperature starts ratcheting up into the eighties, nineties and higher, you’ll be glad that you purchased the best cooling system that you could afford. There is nothing worse than getting that monthly electric bill for cooling a home with an inefficient unit.
So let’s take a look at the basics on what you need to know about air conditioning units.
All air conditioning units are rated with a SEER number. The higher the number means that is it more energy efficient. SEER stands for “Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio.” It is a ratio based on the total cooling output, measured in BTU’s divided by the amount of energy that it requires to generate the output. The energy is measured in watt hours. I know that’s confusing, and there are plenty of charts on the internet that will help you to calculate your estimated energy costs per year, but for the purpose of this discussion, the higher the SEER number, the better off you will be.
Manufacturers supply this SEER rating with all of their units, so it is easy to compare their features, efficiency and ultimate cost.
Since 2005, the U.S. Government required a minimum SEER rating of 13 to be installed in new construction. This standard alone has saved new home-buyers an average of 30% in costs to cool their home from prior standards. It also has caused air conditioning manufacturers to build and market more and more efficient units with at least these minimum ratings. In this day and age of cost consciousness and energy efficiency, it is critical to look for the best rated unit that you can afford.
When considering the additional cost of a higher rated unit, calculate the up front cost, then consider the expense to cool your home on an annual basis. This will help you to decide if it is worth the additional expense. Most manufacturers will already calculate this formula where you need to plug in your average cost per kilowatt-hour as supplied by your electricity supplier.
Remember again, it is your cost vs. your return. That is all you should be considering. It is not the color of your kitchen cabinets that buyers are the most concerned with. They are most concerned with the energy efficiency of their new home. This translates straight across the board into the resale marketplace as well. buyers will not be overly concerned that your home was built with metal studs and recycled insulation. They will be asking you one question, “How energy efficient is this house?”