SEER and Cost


The more efficient a condensing unit is, the more it is likely to cost.  As a rough estimate, with every 1 point increase in SEER, the unit will go up in cost by 8-10%, all else being equal (capacity, features, brand, etc.).  Of course, the higher the SEER rating, the less energy it will use and the lower the energy cost will be.  If an 8 SEER air conditioner is replaced by a 16 SEER model, energy use will be cut in half, and so will the cooling portion of the utility bill.

In warmer climates, choosing a unit with a higher SEER is a cost-effective decision.  The time it takes to recoup the extra expense of a more efficient unit in the form of lower energy bills is known as the “payback period.”  In warm climates, the payback period for choosing an 18 SEER central air conditioner over a 14 SEER model can be as little as 2-3 years.

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