From Brittany on July 5th, 2011 in Air Conditioning & Heating
No doubt about it. Summer’s come full swing again, intense heat and humidity in tow. Each year seems to bring increasingly record-high temperatures, yet we still tend to operate outdated, inefficient air conditioning systems that are robbing us blind on utility costs.
For some, the investment is out of reach financially. For others, it never dawns on them until years later how much money has been wasted. That’s where we can step in to help.
CalFinder helps you find efficient, local air conditioning systems at affordable prices. Whether it’s a central air, window unit, ductless, or packaged air conditioning system, we’ll find the right solution for your home.
How do you get started? Easy. Click here to compare price estimates.
What to Consider for Your Air Conditioning
First things first: You’ve got to determine what kind of system will deliver the most bang for the buck. Let’s use the popular window or “room” air conditioner as an example:
- Consider the climate where you live. In a hot and dry region, opt for a system with a built-in humidifier. In hot and humid regions, you’ll definitely need one with a dehumidifier. Use caution, though. A unit that’s too large or too powerful for a room may force the heat back well, but its too-frequent on/off action will typically fail to suck humidity out of the room, leaving it cold and clammy.
- Size of unit versus size of room. The necessary BTUs/h, or air conditioner output, depend mainly on the square footage of a room. For example, a 6,000 BTU unit typically suits a small room of less than 500 square feet quite well. A larger room (approximately 850-1,100 square feet) requires between 10,000 and 16,000 BTUs/h.
Remember, those are averages based on rooms with ideal characteristics, such as an average-height ceiling ratio, good insulation, adequate shade and so forth. If you’re lacking any of those, you may require a higher-BTU unit.
For additional reference, a good middle-of-the line 10,000 BTU/h window or room air conditioner should cost no more than $370.
Federal and State Rebates and Incentives
The government has given away millions of dollars in incentives, usually rebates and tax credits, to homeowners upgrading to new, energy-efficient cooling systems with the Energy Star label.
A few of these incentives may be of interest to you:
- The 2011 Federal HVAC Tax Credit offers up to $300 on certain qualifying Energy Star systems.
- The 2011 Single Family Energy Efficiency Rebate Program, also through Energy Star ($50), applies to room or window-mounted air conditioners.
- 2011 tax credits for up to 30% on whole-house fans that are added to homes with an existing central air system.
Finding the System that Meets Your Needs
An air conditioning system is an investment that you’ll likely use for many, many years. So it’s crucial to find one that’s going to:
- Give you the best balance among price, performance, and efficiency
- Help you recoup as much money as possible via incentives and rebates
- Save you money on energy bills in the short and long term
Photo via exfordy