From time to time, something BIG happens in the heating and air conditioning business that can have a long-lasting impact on our customers. It is happening again. We want to share some information that may be valuable to you, regarding the eventual replacement of your air conditioning equipment.
If your equipment is only a few years old, is working well, and if you expect to only live in your present home another year or two, then this information may not apply to you. On the other hand, if it is several years old, or if you expect to live where you now are for several more years, then read on.
The Federal Government has mandated energy requirements for furnace and air conditioner manufacturers, and we are approaching a deadline. As of the end of the year, the manufacturing of all new air conditioners must achieve an energy rating of 13 SEER or above. (Pronounced see-er, this is the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, a measurement of how much energy your air conditioner uses to produce cooling.)
This sweeping legislation is intended, in part, to help address our nation’s energy dependence on foreign sources. This is because while the majority of our nation’s power is produced using domestic coal, many of the ‘peak’ power generators for higher summer demands use natural gas or other energy sources that are relatively expensive and that take your money and send it out of the country.
Whether you agree with this law or not, it affects decisions you may need to make about your air conditioning needs. Air conditioners are going to get MUCH more expensive soon, because these new units are going to get bigger, use substantially more expensive materials like copper, and work at much higher internal pressures, using new types of refrigerants.
It will also require a total change-out, because the condenser – the unit that sits outside the home, must be matched with a coil – the unit that does the cooling inside the furnace. Both units must be able to handle the higher pressures, and must be matched to cool and dehumidify properly.
Today, you have a choice. You may WANT to spend substantially more for a higher efficiency unit, because you intend to stay in your present home for many more years and you want to enjoy lower electrical bills. Units are available ranging to 15-16 SEER and above, right now. Or . . . you may want to buy a less costly conventional 10 to 12 SEER unit while you still have a choice.
There will still be some 10 to 12 SEER equipment available early next year, because while the law specifies that manufacturing must cease, it does not say that units in the warehouse can’t be sold. But since manufacturers don’t want to change over all the assembly lines at the same time, manufacturers are ending production already on some models as they phase in production on the new equipment. Some equipment is already becoming difficult to obtain.
Installations for the newer units can sometimes be quite expensive, and not just because of the higher cost for the equipment. Modifications are sometimes needed inside the home to accommodate the larger units.
You should know that for most homes, a 10 to 12 SEER unit will provide significant energy savings. Several years ago, an 8 SEER unit was considered to be very energy-efficient. And many units 10 years old or more may be operating at as little as 6 SEER.
If you have an uneasy feeling that your heating and air conditioning equipment is “operating on borrowed time,” maybe you would be wise to get it checked out, while you can still save significant money on a current model that will readily fit in the available space. You are also likely to save money by getting your equipment replaced on a schedule that works for both you and for Jack Frost, rather than waiting until the hottest day of the summer when the equipment fails suddenly. That’s when the phones are ringing constantly, and heating and air conditioning companies are forced to tell people what they don’t want to hear: “We’ll try to fit you in yet this week, but it’ll be at overtime rates!”
So, why not give Jack Frost a call for a free evaluation of your existing HVAC equipment and a discussion of your options?
There is a solution that is “just right” for you, and we can help you identify it. No Heating and Air Conditioning company is better-equipped to help you with you heating and cooling and clean air needs!