Air Conditioning / Energy Efficiency vs Equipment Cost

Energy Savings

Air conditioning energy efficiency isn’t just about the equipment (see Why How a System is Installed Matters).  That being said, it is true that more efficient air conditioning equipment does cost more than less efficient equipment.  However, there is little or no difference in the materials and installation costs associated with having the different equipment installed.

The burning question is how long it will take the potential energy savings to pay back the bigger initial expense.  Your air conditioning contractor will probably refer to this is as your Return on Investment or ROI. The math is pretty simple and straight-forward, so make your air conditioning contractor do the math.

Generally speaking the largest energy savings is gained in the efficiency difference between your existing equipment and the minimum efficiency equipment (currently 13 SEER) mandated by government.

The right way to look at the question is:  What is the ROI between the minimum efficient air conditioning system mandated and higher energy efficient equipment?  Here in the San Marcos, Buda, Kyle and New Braunfels area going from a 13 SEER to 15 SEER system may have an ROI of as little as 2 to 4 years.

Higher efficient equipment may have a 7 to 10 year ROI. However, greater energy efficiency is usually just an added bonus to the greater levels of indoor comfort afforded by the more expensive air conditioning equipment choices.

The type of equipment choices between electric resistant heat systems, heat pump systems and dual fuel systems may have a bigger impact on lowering operating costs than system efficiency.  An AirOne professional can help answer all your questions.

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