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6 Reasons to Switch to an Energy Efficient AC Unit in 2023

This post was originally published on April 1st, 2022, and last updated on January 31st, 2023.

As energy costs rise you may find yourself adjusting your thermostat to avoid high energy bills. One way to reduce energy consumption in your home is by switching out your old AC unit with a new energy-efficient air conditioner. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of an energy-efficient AC unit and how much money you could save on energy bills.

Energy Costs in Portland Homes

The average family spends around $2,000 per year on their energy bill, and this number is predicted to continue to rise. More than half of a household’s energy consumption is for heating and cooling of the home.

An AC system is one of the biggest energy users in your home second only to your heating system. The energy needed to cool the home depends on summer temperatures, home size, number of windows, and insulation. Another key factor is the age of your AC which is why upgrading to an energy-efficient air conditioner can lower bills, especially if your AC is over 10 years old.

Read next: The Role of Air Conditioning in the Fight Against Climate Change

Factors in Energy Efficient AC Units

Finding a system that is “just right” for your home and comfort is worth the effort. Efficiency means doing more with less so you want to choose a system that runs optimally with less energy consumption.

Programmability, energy ratings, and how much money you will save on a new unit are all things to consider. By squeezing every last drop of energy use out of every BTU, an energy efficient air conditioner gives a great return on your investment but only if the unit’s features are ones that work for you. 

Decide What Type of Air Conditioner You Need

First, decide what air conditioning system is best for your home. There are many options to choose from ranging from portable to central air conditioning systems. The type of air conditioner you decide to install depends on your home, budget, and where you want to be comfortable.

If you are looking for a single room to be cooled, then a portable or window air conditioner is a great option, especially in smaller spaces like apartments. For whole home systems, energy efficient centralized air conditioning will need a duct system while ductless can be installed to create zones in different areas.

Additional reading: Ductless Mini Split vs Central Air: A Quick Comparison

What Should I Look for in Energy Efficient AC Units?

Look for the blue Energy Star certification that makes it easy to compare different air conditioners. Energy Star is a nationally recognized symbol that estimates the annual cost, energy use, and lifetime cost so that you can know what to expect.

Energy Ratings to Look for in Air Conditioners

The two other ratings you should also look for are efficiency ratings – EER and SEER. These ratings are often displayed on the Energy Star label.

  • EER stands for Energy Efficiency Ratio and it measures how efficiently an AC uses electricity.
  • SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and it measures how efficiently an air conditioner cools over a season.

Additional reading: SEER Rating Explained: What is a Good SEER Rating?

What to Avoid in AC Units

The most common mistake is installing the wrong size of air conditioning unit. It doesn’t matter how energy efficient it is, a too large or too small AC unit will increase energy costs, make it hard to cool your home, and prevent dehumidification.

Other things to consider are:

  • Wrong position. To keep your unit from working so hard, consider ventilation and shade when placing your outdoor  AC unit.
  • Position of the thermostat. Keep your thermostat out of the sun or away from heat-generating appliances.
  • Insulation of your home. Poorly insulated homes and air ducts that leak cool air will only increase the burden on your air conditioner reducing efficiency.
  • Features you don’t need. Deluxe air conditioning units come with features and perks that you might not need so there is no point paying for them.
  • Proper installation. Incorrect installation will cost you more in the long run, through high energy bills and repairs

Additional reading: AC Sizes Explained: What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need?

6 Benefits of Energy Efficient Air Conditioners

Here are six reasons to make the switch to an energy efficient air conditioner:

  1. Energy Star certified models meet or exceed energy efficiency standards set by the government, so you know you’re getting a quality product.
  2. Because your AC has better efficiency it works smarter, potentially offering a longer lifespan.
  3. Programmable features help you save operating costs while giving you the highest level of comfort.
  4. Energy star air conditioning systems produce fewer greenhouse gases.
  5. Quieter operation means less noise with a newer energy efficient system.
  6. It will be under warranty.

How Much will an Energy-Efficient AC Cost?

A new air conditioning system will vary in cost depending on the type you invest in and how much the installation costs.

Window and portable air conditioners can run between $250 and $900. An energy efficient central AC unit can generally start around $6000 and run up to $10,000. Ductless mini split systems start at $5500 and go up from there based on number of indoor units.

Additional reading: How Much Does It Cost to Install AC in My Home?

Lifetime Savings of Energy Efficient Air Conditioning

As with anything, lifetime savings with a new energy efficient air conditioner will vary. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, energy efficient air conditioners can save you up to 30% on your cooling costs. Exact savings depends on:

  • efficiency ratings of your current air conditioner
  • how often it runs
  • climate and local temperatures
  • properly sizing the air conditioner
  • thermostat settings
  • AC type
  • proper installation and maintenance

How Jacobs Can Help

Finding the right air conditioning system for you and your family is important for your lifestyle and wallet. Our Jacobs Heating & Air Conditioning consultants will help evaluate your home to ensure you have the best system for your home and comfort. You can schedule a tune-up for your existing system, get on a maintenance plan or we can guide you through the decision-making process as you find the HVAC system that works best for you. No matter what you need we’re always just a phone call away. You are welcome to review our statement on COVID-19 and how we’re taking precautions to protect you, our team, and our communities.

About the Author

Amanda Jacobs portrait

Amanda Jacobs, Internal Project Manager

Amanda Jacobs is an Internal Projects Manager and 3rd generation member of Jacobs Heating & Air Conditioning. She received her MBA from Seattle University and has worked for a leading HVAC training and consulting firm. When not talking HVAC on the Jacobs Blog, you can find her on the golf course or whipping up her famous vegan chili.