What is a SEER Rating?

The efficiency of air conditioners is often rated by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) which is defined by the

Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute.

As of January 2006, all residential air conditioners sold in the United States must have a SEER of at least 13.

Substantial energy savings can be obtained from more efficient systems. For example by upgrading from SEER 9 to SEER

13, the power consumption is reduced by 30%. It is claimed that this can result in an energy savings valued at up to

US$300 per year depending on the usage rate and the cost of electricity.

With existing units that are still functional and when the time value of money is considered,

most often retaining existing units rather than pro actively replacing them is the most cost

effective. Maintenance should be performed regularly to keep their efficiencies as high as


When either replacing equipment, or specifying new installations, a variety of SEERs are

available. For most Florida homes, the minimum or near-minimum SEER units are economical to

buy, but with the longer the Cooling season, the higher the electricity costs, and the longer

the purchasers will own the systems, incrementally higher SEER units are justified. Ask for

One of the most effective and inexpensive ways to reduce your air conditioning costs is

to adjust your thermostat setting. The savings can be significant when you set your

thermostat at 78 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. For each degree you raise your

thermostat setting, you reduce seasonal cooling costs by 7 percent to 10 percent. By

using ceiling fans to supplement an air conditioner, most people can raise their

thermostat setting three degrees and feel just as comfortable.

Does closing vents save energy?

Customers often ask, Can I save energy by shutting off central-system air vents in unoccupied rooms of my home? Studies

consistently shows that this practice saves little energy and, in some cases, may actually raise operating costs. By design, central air

conditioning and heating systems are sized and constructed to distribute a specific quantity of air throughout a home.

Consequently, closed vents may alter the amount of air moved, and disturb the balance and operation of the system. This, in turn,

may result in reduced operating efficiency and increased operating costs.

A/C System Efficiency

In an efficiently operating heat pump or air conditioning system, room

air is pulled into the return side of the system by the air handler fan

and pushed into the supply side of the system. With no leaks, the

duct system is a closed loop. Air coming out of the supply registers is

your investment with it.

    Duct leaks force your system to run longer and work harder .

Energy Savings Tips

    Reduce the amount of the suns heat that enters your home, increase your comfort, and lower your energy costs by

installing energy- efficient windows, window film or screen on your home.

    Clean or change your filters monthly. Dirty filters can increase operating costs by 20 percent. Don’t block registers and

return vents with furniture or drapes.

    Be sure your filters are clean. They should be checked monthly. (Remember to check filters that may be in a unit located

in the attic.)

    Coils of an outdoor unit should be free of debris and not blocked by plants, shrubs, etc.

    Be sure the return air grill inside your house is not blocked by furniture or other items. (If you have more than one return,

check them all.) A return needs a free flow of air for the air conditioning to operate most efficiently.

    Use a ceiling fan or portable fan to supplement your air conditioning. A fan can make you feel three to four degrees cooler

(and only costs a half-cent per hour to operate) so you can set your thermostat a few degrees higher and save on cooling

costs. Use in occupied rooms since fans cool people, not rooms. As a safety precaution, turn off ceiling fans when you leave

your home.

    Keep doors and windows closed when air conditioning is on. Turn off kitchen or bathroom exhaust fans when your air

conditioning is operating.

    Caulk and weather-strip leaky windows and doors.

    For central air conditioning systems, keep the fan switch on your thermostat in the auto position when cooling. This gives

you better cooling and humidity control. Having the fan switch on continuously could cost $25 extra a month on your

electric bill.

    If you suspect your air conditioning system is not cooling properly, have it checked promptly. A unit that is having

operational problems can cause extremely high bills.

    If your air conditioning equipment is older and less efficient, compensate by being extra careful about temperature

settings, hours of operation and filter condition.

    If your furnace or air conditioner is over 10 years old, consider replacing it with an energy-efficient heat pump.

    Install programmable digital thermostat

    Have heating/cooling system checked twice annually for optimum operation (once per season)

    Replace heating system with a high efficiency heat pump.

    I nsulate ducts in unconditioned spaces.

    Have duct system tested and repaired if necessary.

    Use shades or drapes to block the hot sun from heating up your home. Use awnings, trees and shrubs to shade your


    Make sure your home is properly insulated. In existing homes, wall insulation may be too expensive to install, so

concentrate on attic and floor insulation.

    Minimum Insulation R-values (Florida):

    Ceiling: R-19 or R-30

    Wall: R-11 in frame wall, R-5 in CBS walls

    Close blinds, drapes and shades during the hottest part of the day. This keeps the sun’s rays from heating your house.

      Turn off the lights when leaving an empty room.

      If you have a fireplace, close the damper when not in use.

      Use your microwave or counter top appliances for cooking instead of the oven or stove.

      Solar window screens — do a much better job of minimizing solar gain and keeping bugs out than traditional screens

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