Think of an AC unit as an iceberg, with the initial cost of the AC unit being the smaller part of the iceberg that is above water and your monthly energy bills being the larger part of the iceberg that hides below the surface. If you buy the cheapest air conditioner you can find, you will shrink your initial costs, but you will increase your monthly energy costs, which will be the higher cost over the long run. On the other hand, if you pay a little more to get a highly efficient AC unit, you will dramatically shrink your long-term costs. The question is, what does a highly efficient AC unit look like?
The Condenser Unit
The condenser is the part of your AC unit that is located on the outside of your home. Low efficiency units will be short and have only one compressor. A highly efficient condenser will be tall because the increased size of the fins creates more surface area, which allows the unit to cool the freon flowing through it much more quickly. A bigger condenser generally contains more than one compressor. When there is a high demand for cooling, both compressors will kick on to pump as much freon through the unit as possible. When the demand for cooling is lower, only one of the compressors will kick on in order to save electricity. These two upgrades combined will help to reduce your cooling costs, but you should also consider what is different about the evaporator unit.
In a low-efficiency evaporator unit, you will have one set of evaporator coils and a blower with a single speed motor. A highly efficient model will have two condenser coils arranged in an A-frame shape and a variable speed blower. Thus, your coils have more surface area, and your blower can run at lower speeds in order to meet the demand for cooling. To maintain the comfort level in a home, the blower will run at a lower speed, and when there is a demand for rapid cooling, it will run at the highest speed. Just as was the case with the condenser unit, these upgrades allow the evaporator to use less electricity.
When you have to install or replace the AC unit in your home, you may be tempted to look for the cheapest option you can find. This myopic focus on initial savings will leave you exposed to higher monthly payments over the life of your AC unit. Thus, you should try to find room in your budget for a unit with the upgrades described above to increase your savings over the long term. Contact a company like Perry Heating Cooling to get started.