If your energy bills have been steadily on the rise—and you can’t blame the utility company for rate increases—it might be time to update your heating and cooling system. One way to find out whether your system is starting its swan song is by going to Home Energy Yardstick to compare your home’s energy usage to that of similar homes.
If it’s time for a new system, here are some things to consider.
Price isn’t always the bottom line
Of course you want to get the best deal possible, but you need to factor in how the energy efficiency level of your equipment is going to affect your ‘bargain’ purchase over the next 10 years. A system that is less energy efficient will end up costing you more money in the long term.
Improved technology affects the bottom line
The last decade has yielded tremendous leaps forward in the energy efficiency in home heating and cooling equipment. New units are designed to use the minimum amount of energy to provide the same amount of comfort. There’s a new governmental standard for measuring that efficiency: SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. The higher the SEER rating of your HVAC equipment, the more efficiently it operates, saving energy and money over time.
Timing affects the bottom line
Timing is everything—even when it comes to shopping for a new heating and cooling system. Fall and Winter are generally a slower business time for HVAC companies and a pretty good time to look for bargains on air conditioners. If you’re planning to retire soon, now is a good time to make the investment so you don’t have to worry about it in the years ahead.