Planning the AC Purchase

Summer is not that far away and it is better to get ready for the purchase of a new air-conditioning unit now then to wait until Memorial Day. A smart shopper wants to make the best possible purchase and often the cheapest product on the shelf is not the best quality. There are some things the individual can think about as he or she gets ready to buy a new air conditioner.

Quality Ratings Matter

The quality of AC service in air-conditioning is measured by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). Both measure the British Thermal Unit (BTU) to the watt hours of energy consumed, but the SEER measures the cooling output during a cooling season. The industry sets standards for SEER and EER and the minimum for each is 13 and a range of 8.0 – 9.8 respectively. A buyer should know that these ratings are the floor and that higher rating for either category shows greater energy efficiency. That is important when one considers the long term cost of air conditioning. The units with the lower rating will cost more in monthly utility bills then ones that are rated higher.

Consider the Energy STAR Label

The air-conditioning products that have the ENERGY STAR label are set to a very high standard. For air-conditioning units, the SEER must be at 14.5 or higher and the EER can be no less than 12 (NB. These are for split systems. Single package equipment have slightly lower requirements but well above the industry standard). These have expectations mean that ENERGY STAR labeled products provide more energy-efficient AC service than other commercial brands. They may cost a little bit more, but these air-conditioning units will generate long-term savings in lower utility bills. Over the life of their use, these will consequently be a better bargain for shopper.

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