Is a High Efficiency HVAC Unit Worth It?

Better performance is never free, so is a high efficiency HVAC unit worth the extra cost? Can you really save money over the long term? Or are you just wasting money on fancy marketing?

Yes, a High Efficiency HVAC Unit Can Save You Money!

Seriously, this isn't just a marketing gimmick. Energy efficient performance can save you a significant amount of money over the long term. Of course, that latter part is the key. A high efficiency HVAC unit probably won't make up its higher price tag in the first year. Which is why you need to keep your eyes focused on the details.

Y'know, where the devil lives.

How Much Can a High Efficiency HVAC Unit Save You?

First, let's define what we're talking about. The current US minimum is 14 SEER for most folks. Which means any high efficiency HVAC unit these days will have to be better than 14 SEER. 16 SEER is the "low-side" of high efficiency. What we're really talking about are 18 SEER or higher units.

Okay, so how much can a high efficiency HVAC unit that is at least 18 SEER save you?

It depends on that to which you are comparing it. Folks who upgraded their home system to the federal minimum in recent years will save the least. After all, a newer system had to meet a tougher system than those of yesteryear, so there is much less inefficiency to improve.

But what about someone who is still reliant on a 9 or 10 SEER air conditioner from decades ago? Those people are primed to maximize the performance of a new high efficiency HVAC unit!

High Efficiency HVAC Operating Cost Difference

Let's say you have a 3 ton 9 SEER air conditioner condenser. Yes, it's old enough to go to college, but it still works! While the exact costs will vary depending on where you live, let's say this air conditioning unit costs you about $584 per year.

Not bad.

We can get you a new 18 SEER air conditioner for a great price, but it still isn't free. So, let's say a new 18 SEER 3 ton condenser costs you about $2800 up front. And that is a great deal on a high efficiency HVAC unit, but who wants to spend money if they don't have to, right?

Of course, a brand new 18 SEER unit wouldn't cost you $584/year. It would save you about 50%. A 50% improvement means that $584 utility bill becomes $292. Over 15 years that equals out to about $4380 for a $2800 condenser. While the exact dollars and cents may change depending on your yearly cooling hours and the cost per kilowatt hour, that 50% improvement in efficiency will stay the same no matter where you live.

So why haven't you upgraded to a high efficiency HVAC unit yet?

Want to Know More?

Do you have additional questions or comments about how to get a high efficiency HVAC unit in your home? Ask us here, on Facebook, or on Twitter!

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