Most modern homes offer central heating and cooling. Central air conditioning includes a vent system installed throughout the home. The system then sends cool air through these vents to keep the home feeling comfortable during hot months.
However, heating and cooling accounts for the majority of the energy use in the home. For this reason, energy-efficient systems could help homeowners reduce their energy consumption and save money. What is the most energy-efficient central air conditioner?
About Energy-Efficient Air Conditioners
Central HVAC systems—including furnaces and air conditioners—qualify for the ENERGY STAR label when they meet specific energy-efficient criteria. ENERGY STAR central air conditioners use 8 percent less energy than standard options.
However, ENERGY STAR explains that for homeowners to ensure that their new system is reaping the benefits of the energy-efficient design, they also will need to replace their furnace. If the system needs to be replaced, though, both components likely will need to be replaced at the same time.
Central heating and cooling systems often are a combined system. These systems can last nearly two decades, and, as replacing a heating and cooling system is an expensive investment, homeowners will likely only want to replace the system when it’s necessary.
The Cost of Energy Efficient Central Air Conditioners
Replacing a heating and cooling system in the home with an energy-efficient option can help homeowners reduce their energy consumption. However, since heating and cooling accounts for such a large portion of the home’s energy use, reducing the consumption of this system also can result in monthly savings.
The costs related to replacing this system could vary. According to HomeGuide, the price might range from $5,000 to $11,000. The cost can depend on the area and perhaps even the size of the home. This figure also is a general range and doesn’t break down the prices by standard versus energy-efficient systems.
In addition, the cost of this replacement could soar higher if ductwork needs to be installed.
How to Save When Upgrading a System
The price of any new HVAC system will be an investment for many homeowners. However, when homeowners choose an energy-efficient system, they might be able to find rebates to help offset the cost.
Homeowners can search for rebates for HVAC systems on the ENERGY STAR website. In addition, homeowners also can download the HomeSelfe app to find related rebates.
Other Ways to Control Energy Costs
Since upgrading the HVAC system is a high-cost project, many homeowners will likely only upgrade their system when they need to do so. While older systems can be less efficient, homeowners can still find ways to reduce their energy waste and help lower costs.
A smart thermostat is a less expensive investment that could help homeowners take control of their energy use. These thermostats might be able to be controlled via an app on a mobile device (like a smartphone or tablet). Homeowners could set temperatures remotely to help decrease energy waste.
These thermostats also can incorporate programs that allow homeowners to change the temperature of the home at specific times. For example, when homeowners are at work or on vacation, they might reduce the temperature of the furnace or increase the temperature to ensure the air conditioning doesn’t turn on as frequently.
All homeowners can adjust the thermostat to more energy-efficient temperatures. Opt for a temperature of 78 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter. By choosing cooler temperatures in the winter and warmer temperatures in the summer, the system won’t be forced to turn on as frequently to heat or cool the home.
In some cases, the HVAC system also could be turning on more frequently because poor insulation in the home is providing less protection for the home. Insulation helps homes warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
In addition, poorly insulated windows also could be the source of energy leaks. Homeowners can feel around their windows for any drafts.
Homeowners Can Block the Sun
In areas of the country that become extremely hot during the summer, it might feel as though the air conditioner is constantly running. Homeowners can take some pressure off the system by keeping their drapes or blinds closed during the heat of the day.
While sunlight can help homeowners save money related to the cost of lighting the home, the heat generated by the sun could add to the monthly cooling costs. Homeowners also could use blackout curtains to further reduce the heat and protect upholster and pictures from fading.
When to Replace the HVAC System
Homeowners might wonder when it’s time to replace their HVAC system. ENERGY STAR recommends upgrading the system after 10 years. However, some homeowners might wait to replace their HVAC when their current system is requiring too many repairs. While homeowners might dread the cost of replacing this system, rebates for energy-efficient HVAC systems can help offset the cost. In addition, these more efficient systems can save homeowners money on their heating and cooling costs.