Understanding the Energy Star Rating for Air Conditioners

Houston AC Repair | Outdoor AC UnitThe efficiency rating is one of the most important things to consider if you are shopping for a new air conditioning system. Since 1995, the government has used EnergyGuide labels and Energy Star ratings to help consumers evaluate the performance and operating cost of cooling equipment. Your Sugar Land air conditioning service can help you understand these ratings and use the information to make wise purchasing decisions.

Minimum Performance Standards

The performance of central air conditioning equipment is expressed as the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). Most systems that are being replaced today were sold 15 years ago when the average SEER was between six and 10. Today, systems that meet minimum ratings allowed by law are 30 percent more efficient.

In January 2015, the minimum efficiency rating for central air conditioning systems increased from 13 SEER to 14 SEER. This regional standard applies to Texas and the southern states because most of our energy goes toward cooling rather than heating. To meet Energy Star requirements, air conditioners must have a SEER of 15 of better. Compared to entry-level units, Energy Star products are 7 percent more efficient at a minimum. The most efficient systems today have ratings of 18 SEER or more. Units with the highest performance ratings appear on the Energy Star Most Efficient list, which is published annually.

Potential Energy Savings

An ultra-efficient system with a variable-speed compressor could lower your energy bills by 40 percent. An air conditioner with the best rating could save you several thousand dollars on electricity in the first five years. In the past, air conditioning and heating represented more than 50 percent of household energy use. With the new technology available today, older HVAC systems account for less than half of residential energy use for the first time since central heating and cooling became accessible.

Other Considerations

Installation and maintenance will impact the performance of all air conditioning systems. According to Energy Star, improper installation can decrease the performance of HVAC units by 30 percent. Professional installation teams use national guidelines for sizing and installing new equipment. Attention to detail is also important if you need Sugar Land air conditioning repair. Annual maintenance reduces the cost of ownership and keeps equipment performing efficiently.

EnergyGuide Labels

If you have shopped for a refrigerator, hot water heater or another major appliance, you have probably seen the yellow EnergyGuide labels. They are similar to the fuel economy stickers shown in the window of new cars. These labels were introduced by the Federal Trade Commission in 1980. They are designed to help consumers compare products based on their energy efficiency and operating costs. The EnergyGuide on air conditioning compressors and package units will display the unit’s SEER rating compared to similar products. Air conditioners and most major appliances are required to display the EnergyGuide label. The numbers shown on the guide are supplied by the manufacturer, but most companies hire third-party laboratories to perform efficiency tests according to government standards.

Because operating costs vary by region and utility provider, annual energy costs are not usually included on air conditioning units. However, the EnergyGuide will show you whether the product meets Energy Star requirements. Since 2013, major appliances and air conditioning companies have published this information online.

If you need an AC repair in Sugar Land, do not hesitate to ask your technicians for information about efficiency ratings and features that are available on new systems. In addition to lowering your energy bills, the new technology can keep you comfortable by removing more humidity and reducing temperature swings. For more information, give All Out A/C & Heating a call at 281-238-9292. We are ready to help you save money and increase the indoor comfort of your home.

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