New regulations on air conditioning units lead to higher up front cost

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – New government regulations on the energy efficiency of air conditioning units mean the next time you have to replace your system; it could end up costing you.

Starting January 1st, all new air conditioning systems have to meet stricter efficiency standards. This is measured by what’s known as the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER. The higher the SEER, the more efficient a system is.

Walt Pollard, owner of Sam Pollard & Son, explains: “That SEER factor minimum, up until January, was a 13. Now it’s increased to a 14, which translates into about a 10% increase in efficiency of the unit.”

But that increase doesn’t come cheap.

“That’s probably the only downside is there is some increased cost, but on average it is a good investment” explains Pollard.

Pollard says the cost to install a new system has increased about 10-15% from last year. That translates to a few hundred dollars. It’s an added cost up front that will eventually pay for itself.

“The savings will definitely come over the life of that system in added energy efficiency” said Pollard.

You can expect your energy bill to decrease by up to 10%, saving you money. The new systems also do a better job of drawing humidity out of your home, increasing overall comfort. But for those with an older system, there are some things you can do to save on your electric bill.

“Just like your car or anything else that’s mechanical, it needs routine maintenance. We’re gonna recommend that you have the system routinely maintained by a professional at least twice a year” said Pollard.

It’s also a good idea to keep air filters clean and changed regularly.

For more tips on saving on your energy bill this summer, click here.

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