Efficiency in air conditioning. It’s a detail that if overlooked, can result in some unwanted surprises coming your way – by way of steep energy bills. Unlike air conditioners that were available a decade or two back, present-day air conditioners come with a distinct advantage as far as performance and energy savings are concerned. But in a market that’s flooded with scores of products, how do you find your way to the option that makes the best sense for both your home and wallet? Here’s an article from the experts at Boyle Energy that will help you with the basics of evaluating air conditioners in order to make the right choice.

 I) Newer is better
Check for recency in terms of manufacture, when it comes to scouting for your next air-conditioning unit. The reason is, the more advanced the air-conditioner, the less energy it will consume while on the job. This is unlike units that were manufactured decades back, which would consume 30 to 50% more energy than today’s state-of-the-art variants.

II) Check the ratings
Numbers tell stories, especially when it comes to the efficiency of air-conditioning units. You could rely on two primary numbers: EER and SEER. EER or the Energy Efficiency Ratio is the measure of an air conditioner’s efficiency at one peak temperature. SEER or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio on the other hand, is a measure of how an air conditioner operates over an entire season, across a range of temperatures. If you’re in a location where the temperature’s 95 degrees (fahrenheit) or higher, consider the EER ratings. If you’re in a location with moderate climatic conditions, consider the SEER ratings. When considering EER ratings, look for air conditioners in the range of 9.4 to 10.7 to get the best. When considering SEER ratings, look for choices that are anything over 13.

III) Calculate the cooling capacity
The size of your space plays a significant role in determining the efficiency of your air conditioner. Imagine a smaller capacity device in a larger space or the opposite, a larger capacity device in a smaller space. In the first case, the unit will end up working even harder to achieve the desired temperature while in the second situation, the unit will consume extra energy even when working below its potential. To arrive at the capacity that’s ideal for your space, multiply the square feet of your room by 25 to get the BTUs.  (British Thermal Unit – the amount of heat necessary to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.)

IV) Energy Star Certification
If you want to be extra sure about the choice you make, turn to the recommendations of the US Department of Energy. That’s right, you can look for products that carry the Energy Star Certification – an assurance that the product genuinely uses less energy, which will also reflect in the higher SEER and EER ratings. Energy Star Certified products are expensive compared to non-certified products, but the energy savings you make will help you offset the higher initial cost in the long run.

V) Energy-saving mode
Older technology air conditioners would continue working hard despite achieving their temperature objectives. Newer generation air conditioners on the other hand, believe in working smarter, not harder. Look for products that come with the energy-saving mode. This mode ensures the unit switches off both compressor and fan once the set temperature is achieved across your room.

5 main air conditioner types and their energy efficiency

1) Central Air Conditioners
Because of its high efficiency and effectiveness in cooling areas more evenly, central air conditioners are among the most popular options for large homes. However, take the assistance of professionals to understand the exact size you need for your home. A central AC unit with a capacity that’s in excess of your home’s requirement will negate the benefits of its energy-efficient technology and spike up your energy bills. A minimum EER score of 12 will ensure you take home a central AC unit that’ll help bring your costs and worries down significantly.

2) Window Air Conditioners
Window units are ideal for homes with smaller areas and use significantly less energy than central air conditioning systems. Though they can be conveniently installed in separate rooms, their costs can become a burden when you’re looking at multiple units for your home. For a new air conditioner to help you save up to 50% in operating costs in comparison to your older unit, make sure to consider products with EER between 9.4 and 10.7.

3) Split System Air Conditioners
Unlike window based systems that affect the aesthetics of your space with their obvious visibility under a window, split systems are less obtrusive and can be mounted on walls beyond your line of vision. Split systems are virtually noiseless – as compared to traditional systems, more efficient and more affordable to operate too. An EER rating of 12 or higher should be your target when looking for a split system for your home.

4) Portable Air Conditioners
The flexibility to cool spaces from any spot within a home, is making portable air conditioners a popular choice around the country. They operate on the same principle as a central air conditioning system but can be purchased for less than $500. Also, unlike central AC systems, they only need to cool down a specific area which means they consume about 1/8th the energy utilized by a central AC system. Look for a minimum EER rating of 8 although a rating of 10 would fetch you the most energy-efficient option in this category.

 5) Evaporative Air Coolers  
One of the biggest advantages of an evaporative air cooler is its cost-efficiency. In fact, it’s possible to save up to 80% on your energy expenses as compared to a conventional air conditioning system.

We hope this article will give you a fair idea on how to go about choosing an air conditioner that is great at both cooling your home and saving you money. If you’re looking for an expert to help you with high-efficiency air conditioners, high efficiency HVAC systems, air scrubber for AC units or even an air conditioning tune-up, reach out to us at Boyle Energy. We’re among the oldest and most recognized service providers in the domain of air conditioners / HVAC systems and an opportunity to serve you would be welcome news to our highly trained and efficient team of experts.