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A/C Upgrades Are Not Based On SEER Alone: Other Key Considerations

The HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system in your home is one of the largest physical investments you’ll make and, in the San Diego area, your cooling unit likely may be operating from May through September. Therefore, with all of the energy-saving innovations hitting the market, it may be time to consider an upgrade to your air conditioning (A/C). Your energy savings will translate directly into savings on your utility bills.

You should consider a number of factors if you’re pondering an A/C upgrade. The most important is to compare energy savings with upgrade costs. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that today’s advanced systems typically use between 30 and 50 percent less energy than A/C units from the mid-1970s, to produce the same amount of cool air. Additionally, when compared to units that are only a decade old, today’s modern A/C upgrades may use 40 percent less energy to produce the same amount of cooling.

Maximizing system efficiency for your A/C upgrade definitely should be a priority. Therefore, there are some important efficiency ratings with which you should familiarize yourself so that you can quickly and easily compare the performance of different systems. These efficiency ratings include:

  • SEER. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio indicates a system’s cooling output compared to its power consumption during the cooling season. The higher an A/C’s SEER value, the better it's energy efficiency. As of January 2006, the U.S. government mandated that all air conditioners (except window units) that are manufactured and sold in the U.S. must have a SEER of at least 13.
  • AFUE. Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency is the percentage of heat that your heating system produces compared to the energy that it consumes. AFUE is described as a percentage and, again, the higher the number, the better the performance.
  • HSPF. Heating Season Performance Factor measures the efficiency of heat pumps, rather than furnaces. However, in all other aspects, it is the same as AFUE.

For more information or help with your A/C upgrade, contact the experts at Sherlock Plumbing Heating & Air. We proudly serve the entire Carlsbad, La Costa, Encinitas, Vista, San Marcos, Oceanside, Rancho Bernardo and Poway regions. We are a locally owned, family-run business, and we have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.