What Do AC Star Energy Ratings Mean?
My AC unit is only a few years old. It had a high Energy Star rating when I purchased it, isn’t that good enough? Doesn’t it still provide me with high efficiency when cooling down my home?
Great question. And we’ll admit, the concept of selecting an air conditioner based on energy ratings is a bit confusing.
The Energy Star rating system was designed to help consumers select an efficient cooling unit. When debating between two units, you could rest assured that selecting one with a higher Energy Star rating would provide you with more efficiency in the long run.
And if you’re looking at replacing your AC unit today, selecting one with a high Energy Star rating will definitely be more efficient than anything produced five, eight, or ten years ago. That’s because efficiency requirements keep rising. Older units also wear out over time, making them lose their efficiency.
When you start searching for a new AC unit, pay attention to the EER rating for each air conditioner. According to Energy Star, this is the most important number. You’ll usually find several different factors listed on each unit, and it can make comparing a bit more cumbersome.
Start with BTUs. Be sure you’re comparing units that are all in the same range. Even if two units have the same BTU setting, the minimum EER requirement may vary depending upon its features. Does the unit have louvered sides? Is it window mounted? Does it go through the wall? Differences impact how efficient the unit is.
AC units also often list how much more efficient they are than the minimum standard. It’s easy for this number to throw you off guard.
For example, in the 5,000 to 5,999 BTU range, a room air conditioner must have an EER of 9.7, but if it’s Energy Star rated, it has to be 10.7. That’s an increase of 10 percent more efficiency. Depending on how the manufacturer lists efficiency on its product, you can increase your efficiency by 10 percent by looking for the Energy Star rating.
Don’t take the word of a salesperson trying to sell you on one product. Be sure to do a little comparison shopping.
You can do a search online and quickly find answers. And given that your air conditioner is one of the biggest energy hogs in your home during the summer months, it’s wise to spend a little extra time conducting your own research. You can start right here:
Have additional questions? We’re happy to help.