Size, Efficiency, and Affordability: Three Criteria for Choosing an AC Unit

Woman checking her room air conditionerWhen buying an air conditioning unit for your home, be as dedicated to researching and studying your options as you would when buying a car. After all, your choice impacts your family’s comfort and well-being, your home’s total energy consumption, and maintenance and repair bills.

Understanding BTUs

One perk of having our home cooling experts in St. Charles install your home air conditioning is you’re less likely to purchase the wrong size and type of air conditioner. Superior Heating and Cooling advises customers on the units suitable for their homes. We provide a shortlist of ideal brands and units based on their respective British Thermal Unit (BTU) ratings and the square footage of the room or area that needs cooling.

The rule of thumb is the higher the BTU rating, the more cooling power an AC has. But this doesn’t mean you should always choose the AC with the highest BTU. If you want to keep your energy consumption low, avoid early equipment failure, and maintain a comfortable indoor temperature all year, choose the AC with a cooling capacity that’s just enough for your home’s square footage.

ENERGY STAR recommends 5,000 BTU/hr for rooms 100-150 sq. ft. wide. It then adds 1,000 BTU/hr for every 50 sq. ft. increment in the floor area. ENERGY STAR also encourages homeowners to calculate the ideal BTU value for a room based on the number of occupants and sunlight exposure.

Calculate the ideal BTU for your home. If your AC’s BTU rate is higher or lower than your ideal figure, your electricity bills could increase and the unit could deteriorate quickly.

Efficiency Ratings that Matter

Missouri is famous for its long, hot summers. It is, therefore, unsurprising that nine out of ten households have central air conditioning. Residents of St. Louis and St. Charles are fortunate because the average residential electricity rate in these cities is 9.69¢/kwh or 4.72 percent lower than the national average. Nevertheless, it’s preferable to buy an energy-efficient AC so you can save on energy costs.

Cooling equipment efficiency has three ratings:

  • Seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER)
  • Energy efficiency ratio (EER)
  • Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF)

The higher these values are, the less electricity they use. SEER is a better indicator of long-term efficiency, however. If your goal is the long-term regulation of your home’s energy consumption, SEER should take precedence over EER.

Price vs. Energy Cost

After considering your options based on BTU and energy efficiency, you might notice that your best options are not the cheapest ones in the market. Like most home appliances, ACs with high-efficiency ratings tend to cost more than their less-efficient counterparts.

Price is not the only factor you should consider, though; your home’s overall energy consumption is important, as well. If your home has excellent insulation, you may be able to choose a less efficient but more affordable AC. For example, a 14-SEER cooling system in a house with minimal air leaks generates the same savings as a 20-SEER system in a less energy-efficient home.

Superior Heating and Cooling can help you find the best AC for your home. Schedule an appointment today.

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