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High-efficiency air conditioners

HVAC Logo IconBy HVAC.comAugust 1, 2023
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High-efficiency air conditioners require less energy to cool a home, resulting in energy savings and lower utility bills. Installing a high-efficiency central air conditioner can save you 20-50% on cooling compared to an older system.

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How air conditioner efficiency is measured

It’s important when looking for a high-efficiency air conditioner to know how to compare units. Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) measure the cooling efficiency of AC units.

Determine the SEER by taking the total cooling energy needed for a cooling season and dividing it by the total electrical energy used by the air conditioner during the cooling season. A higher SEER indicates higher efficiency. SEER values generally range from about 13 to 26.

New 2023 HVAC regulations raise the efficiency requirements for central air conditioners. Those sold in the northern portion of the United States must have a minimum SEER of 14. Those sold in the southern United States must have a minimum SEER of 15.

2023 SEER regions map

EER is an older method of calculating efficiency. Determine the EER of a cooling unit by dividing the total cooling energy output by the total electrical output. Room air conditioners most often use EER ratings.

The difference between the two is that EER measures efficiency at one constant temperature, while SEER calculates efficiency at varying temperatures.

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Pros and cons of high-efficiency air conditioners

✅ Pros❌ Cons
Save money on utility billsHigher price upfront
More environmentally friendlyMay be incompatible with existing furnace and blower motor
Deliver more consistent cooling 
Run quieter 
Eligible for ENERGY STAR rebates 

Should you buy a high-efficiency central air conditioner?

If you can afford the upfront investment, we recommend purchasing an efficient air conditioner. Not only will high-efficiency air conditioners save you money in the long run, but they’re better for the environment.

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