If you are the kind of person who needs the best of the best, a good SEER rating for your AC is the highest on the market (at time of writing, 23 SEER).
But the platinum package, highest efficiency air conditioner might not be right for everybody. In fact, most families stay comfortable, both physically and emotionally, by purchasing a mid-seer unit with a better initial cost to operating cost ratio.
We don’t expect you to buy your air conditioner after reading one blog, but we do expect this to educate you and put you on the path to buying your family’s perfect new air conditioner. And if you’re overwhelmed right now, don’t worry; we’ll help sort you out.
How to know exactly what your new AC will cost to run.
You can get a very accurate idea of how much your new AC will cost to operate by following a simple set of steps.
When you determine the energy consumed by your new AC (in watts) you can figure out what it’ll cost you to run.
- Divide the BTUs (you can ask us about the BTUs of any system) by the SEER rating tagged on the unit.
- Convert this to Kwh (the value your power company uses) by dividing by 1,000.
- Multiply the number of Kwh your AC consumes by the number of hours it operates annually.
So a 36,000 BTU air conditioner at a SEER rating of 18 gives us 2,000 watts.
Converting to Kwh gives us 2.0 (2,000 divided by 1,000).
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.
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 Toronto Hydro.
In this case, if you only used the AC during peak times, you’d spend just over $226 on cooling your house annually.
How do I figure out 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 super efficient unit 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 may pay for the extra up front cost, and then some.
However, this also might not be the case.
To get the number you need here, we have a little more math.
- 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.
- Look back 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.