Do You Know How Much a New Central Air Conditioner Could Save You?

July 15, 2014

Did your last utility bill make you scowl in disgust? While you could blame the summer weather, your air conditioner isn’t innocent either.

If your AC is 8-12 years old, then it’s like an old gas guzzling car: it’s running inefficiently, and that’s costing you each month. That means it’s about time to upgrade to a new air conditioner.

But will a new AC really save you that much money? You can find out with the right tools.

We’ll show you how.

First, find your current air conditioner’s energy efficiency rating

To see how much a new air conditioner could save you, we need to know your current system’s energy efficiency rating (SEER).

Once you have that, you can compare it to higher SEER ratings (the minimum you can buy is 13).

Not sure what you AC’s SEER rating is? Check the yellow Energy Guide sticker on the outside unit.

Outside unit of a 13 SEER central air conditioner.

Second, use SEER savings tools to see yearly savings

Once you have your current SEER rating, there are a variety of tools you can use to see how much a new central AC can save you.

One is the Lennox Energy Savings Calculator. (We’re partial to Trane air conditioners, but the Lennox tool is still a pretty cool tool to estimate savings.)

Here’s how much a Florida homeowner could save by upgrading from a 10 SEER rated AC to a 15 SEER rated AC.

Note: This calculation assumes 11 cents per kilowatt hour (¢/kWH). You can customize this to fit your electric rate by clicking “customize your home.”

Other important factors that affect money saved

The tool above gives you a starting point, but it’s not the whole picture.

Several other factors affect how much a new central air conditioner will save you.

Air conditioner size: Your current air conditioner may be under or oversized, causing it to run inefficiently. With that in mind, make sure that the new air conditioner you get is sized properly for your home.

A central air conditioner installer should never assume the the size of your current AC is the correct size. Also, they shouldn’t use a rule of thumb (like tons per sq foot) to guess the size you need. 

Instead, they should perform a “Manual J Heat Load Calculation” to find the right size.

Air conditioner use: Any SEER savings tool assumes a best case scenario for using your air conditioner (just like how car MPG rating makes assumptions about your driving habits).

With that in mind, you need to learn how to use energy efficient settings for your thermostat to get the savings advertised for a new air conditioner.

Programmable thermostats can help you stay consistent with these energy efficient settings. We suggest getting the Nest Thermostat, a smart thermostat that learns your favorite temperature settings when you use it. Then it can automatically change its temperature settings to match your preferences and lifestyle.

Air duct problems: According to ENERGYSTAR, A typical house loses about 20% to 30% of the air that moves through the duct system because of leaks, holes and poorly connected ducts. This causes higher utility bills and makes the house uncomfortable, no matter how you set the thermostat.

So buying an energy efficient air conditioner won’t save you as much money if the cooled air is escaping your ducts.

Contact Advanced Air for a more accurate estimate

You’ll need a professional installer to keep all the above factors in mind to see how much money a new air conditioner will truly save you.

If you live in the Fort Myers and Naples areas in Florida and want to see how much a new central AC system could save you, ask our experts for help.

Advanced Air has been serving Fort Myers and Naples, Florida, and the surrounding areas for over 25 years.