Are you the kind of person who wants the best of the best? The SEER rating on your AC should be 23 (the highest available at time of writing).
But the diamond package, highest efficiency air conditioner isn’t right for everyone. Most families are more comfortable purchasing a mid-seer unit with a more manageable initial-cost to operating-cost ratio.
We don’t expect you to buy your air conditioner after reading one blog, but we hope this helps your family move closer to the right purchase. And if you’re overwhelmed right now, don’t worry; we’ll help sort you out.
Calculate exactly what your new AC will cost to operate.
You can get an accurate idea of the cost of operation on a new air conditioner with this step by step guide.
When you determine the energy consumed by your new AC (in watts) you can figure out what it costs to run.
- Divide the BTUs (you can ask us about the BTUs of any system) by the SEER rating tagged on the unit.
- Divide this by 1,000 to convert the number to Kwh (the value your power company uses).
- Multiply the number of Kwh your AC consumes by the number of hours it operates annually.
(Step 1) A 36,000 BTU air conditioner at a SEER rating of 18 gives us 2,000 watts.
(Step 2) Converting to Kwh gives us 2.0 (2,000 divided by 1,000).
(Step 2b, we figure out how many hours your AC operates annually) If we imagine you run your air conditioner 8 hours a day for about 90 days a year, that gives 720 hours of AC use per year.
(Step 3) 2.0 Kwh X 720 hours of annual use = 1440 annual Kwh consumption.
You can follow this link to see the cost of peak, mid and off-peak Kwh costs from Ontario Hydro.
In this case, if you only used the AC during peak times, you’d spend just over $260 on cooling your house annually (before those pesky delivery surcharges and debt retirement).
You aren’t quite done yet.
How do I find the best value for myself?
Run this same calculation for units with different SEER ratings, so you have a handful of numbers.
Now ask – how long do you expect to own this air conditioner? Longer periods of ownership allow greater return of value to you through savings.
A high efficiency air conditioner is more expensive up front, but costs less to run. If you expect to own the house (and the air conditioner) for 10 years, the savings might pay for the extra up front cost, and then some.
The saving might also fall short of helping you recover your upfront cost.
Prepare for a little more number crunching.
- Get your quotes together.
Let’s say we quote you $4,000 on an installed 13 SEER system and $4,600 on an installed 14 SEER system (this is by no means an accurate quote – just a number to use in this example).
- Look at the annual cost you calculated to run the 13 SEER system and the 14 SEER system.
- Multiply your annual cost to operate each by 10 (the number of years you plan to own the system).
How much LESS will it cost to operate the 14 SEER system over the course of those 10 years?
And the important question – is this amount MORE than the $600 difference in initial purchase price between the 13 SEER system and the 14 SEER system.
The first step in getting any of this information is to place a call and get quotes from a few contractors.
Why not start with us? We’re happy to provide several quotes on A/C units with different seer ratings for you to compare and work through.