It invariably happens that if your central air conditioner is on its last legs it will give out on the hottest stickiest day of the year. Consider the tips below when deciding which air conditioner to buy:
- Choose an Energy Star Approved Unit. Energy efficient units are kinder to your electricity bill. Given that central air conditioners are the biggest energy hogs in your home, buying an Energy Star approved unit makes sense. These units are at least 20% more efficient than a standard model.
- Choose a unit with the Highest SEER rating you can afford: SEER stands for “Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio,” the higher the number, the more efficient the unit is. Every unit whether it is Energy Star or not has a rating so that you can compare models.
- “Right Size” your unit. While you might think that buying the biggest unit you can afford is the way to go, it is in fact, an inefficient thing to do. Larger units use more power for start up. If the unit is too big for the home, it will cycle more frequently, staying on and turning off for shorter periods thereby using more electricity.
- Consider the compressor’s location: A central air conditioning unit consists of two parts, one inside the house hooked up to the furnace, and the other outside the house. The compressors are noisy and not particularly nice to look at. When getting an estimate, ask where the compressor has to go. You might have to consider some additional landscaping.
- Look for government rebates and utility incentive programs for more savings.
Cathy Rust writes a weekly column featuring new products from countertops to flooring, energy efficiency and green building products and services. See http://blog.homestars.com for more articles.
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