What Air Conditioner is Most Energy Efficient?


For homeowners in Warsaw, Indiana and the surrounding area, N.E.W. Plumbing and Heating provides exceptional options for air conditioning installation. We have built a reputation for listening to our customers and meeting their needs with complete solutions. One of the most common questions from homeowners is, What AC is most energy efficient? With increases in energy costs, we welcome the challenge of designing a perfect cooling solution to suit your needs.

Many times, homeowners are delighted that N.E.W. Plumbing and Heating  is able to surpass their goals with energy-efficient air conditioners, extraordinary ventilation and powerful smart thermostats. If you are planning to build a new home or business or upgrade your old air conditioning units, N.E.W. Plumbing and Heating is eager to work with you by providing and installing the most energy-efficient air conditioner.

For some homeowners, the goal is to save money on monthly bills. You may also have your sights set on reducing your carbon footprint. Whatever your vision may be, the team at N.E.W. Plumbing and Heating has the experience and knowledge to guide you toward your goal. The first step is matching your home with the ideal air conditioner.

What do Energy Ratings Mean?

Searching for the most energy-efficient air conditioner means translating a lot of rating information. Busy homeowners can quickly become confused by what ratings matter and how each rating impacts their monthly energy bill. N.E.W. Plumbing and Heating applies our expertise to the ratings so we can provide the best recommendations for our customers.

British Thermal Unit (BTU)

BTU is the unit of measurement used to express the amount of heat that is needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

When it comes to air conditioners, BTUs refer to the cooling capacity of the unit. More clearly, it refers to how much heat air conditioners remove from your home per hour. The cooling capacity is measured in BTUs per hour (BTU/h or Btu/h). The higher the BTU rating of an air conditioner, the larger the space it can cool.

When matching the best air conditioner to buy, bigger is not necessarily better. Obviously, if you purchase a unit that is too small, the air conditioner can rapidly fail. A unit that is too large cycles on and off frequently leading to much higher operating costs. Expert advice on the best air conditioner for your home assures the appropriate BTUs match.

Energy Star Ratings

Manufacturers can earn the ENERGY STAR label when air conditioner models meet certain energy-efficiency standards established by the EPA. ENERGY STAR is a rating system established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help consumers and businesses identify energy-saving products. The rating system is voluntary but has become ubiquitous in nearly every appliance, lighting, electronics and certainly in heating and cooling equipment.

ENERGY STAR ratings should not be confused with the most energy-efficient air conditioners. For instance, the ENERGY STAR label applies to some models with 16.5 SEER ratings and higher, but the most efficient air conditioners have up to 19 SEER ratings. ENERGY STAR ratings are good to consider but don’t rely exclusively on this rating.

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)

This rating system is used to measure the energy efficiency of air conditioners and heat pumps. SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is calculated by dividing the cooling output of a unit (measured in British thermal units, or Btus) by the amount of energy it consumes (measured in watt-hours) over a typical cooling season. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the unit is at converting energy into cooling power.

The SEER rating is typically used to compare the efficiency of different models of air conditioners. The minimum SEER rating required by federal law for air conditioners is 13, but many units on the market have ratings of 14 or higher. When you seek the best energy-efficient air conditioner, this rating is the second step to guide your choice.

  • Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) expresses the cooling capacity a unit offers for a specific amount of energy used in a specific testing climate including high temperatures, moderate temperatures and relative humidity. While similar to SEER, this is most commonly seen in a window unit or portable air conditioner.

HVAC System Design

Energy-efficient air conditioners only play a partial role in reducing energy consumption. The next step is designing an optimal ventilation system. A large amount of energy is wasted in poorly designed ventilation systems. Central air conditioners installed in older homes can often be upgraded to more energy-efficient designs and better materials.

Air Duct Design

The design of air ducts can have a significant impact on the energy efficiency of an air conditioning system. The goal is to reduce resistance through the entire ventilation system. This starts with the layout, construction and installation of your ducts. Properly designed and maintained air ducts can help to ensure that cool air is distributed to all areas of your home.

Poor installation leads to leaks and improper sizing. If there are leaks in the air ducts, cooled air escapes, wasting your money and causing the AC unit to run longer. If air ducts are too large, it may lead to low air velocity. Small air ducts restrict airflow. Insulation is also considered, but the most important component is intelligent routing.

Proper routing of air ducts distributes air in an effective manner to balance performance and efficiency. A well-designed route helps to ensure that conditioned air reaches all areas of the home in an efficient and effective manner, which can reduce energy consumption.

Smart Thermostats

Programmable thermostats have helped improve energy-efficient air conditioners for many years. Like programmable thermostats, smart thermostats are designed to improve energy efficiency by allowing you to program the times you are normally away from home or asleep. Increasing temperatures when you are not home eases the strain on equipment without sacrificing comfort within your home.

Most importantly, smart thermostats control the temperature settings for you by learning your habits, automatically adjusting your system when you leave your home and restarting the air conditioning units when you arrive home. They can be controlled remotely using a smartphone or other devices. When you install a smart thermostat into your home, air conditioning units achieve a new level of energy efficiency.

One of the main ways smart thermostats improve energy efficiency is by providing greater control over the temperature settings in your home from the palm of your hand. Most smart thermostats provide energy-consumption reports that allow the user to monitor how energy is being used and detect patterns; this way homeowners can make adjustments to improve energy consumption.

If your goal is to save energy, smart thermostats allow you to make more informed decisions about how to use energy within your home. Smart thermostats are part of a subset of energy-saving smart devices like light bulbs, outlets and plugs.

Insulation, Windows and Doors

Proper insulation in walls, attics and floors can help to reduce the amount of heat your home gains in the summer. This can lead to lower energy consumption and costs, as the HVAC system will not have to work as hard to maintain the desired temperature.

Most homeowners think about sealing windows and upgrading windows from single-paned to more energy-efficient designs. Cold air can leave through poor seals, and heat can enter your home. A very simple way to manage energy waste at windows, though, is simply controlling blinds and drapes. Strategically opening and closing blinds and drapes when heat is high and you are not using natural light in a room helps control energy.

Similar to windows, doors impact energy efficiency. Doors with poor insulation and gaps around the perimeter allow heat to enter the building. Energy-efficient doors, such as those made with insulated cores, weather stripping, and tight-fitting frames can help reduce this heat transfer, lowering energy consumption and costs.

Air Conditioner Maintenance

Once you install a highly rated air conditioner, annual inspections assure your system maintains performance. The best energy-efficient air conditioner includes recommended maintenance from the manufacturer. Just like sealing windows and adding weather stripping to your doorways, you need to care for your air conditioning unit to preserve energy efficiency.

Some of the recommended services are simple for homeowners. Air conditioners should be clean of debris and obstructions. Energy efficiency can be impacted when airflow is obstructed or altered. This extends into your home as well. Checking and replacing air filters regularly helps your indoor air quality and allows cool air to circulate at the optimal rate.

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and Energy Star ratings are only measurements of what your AC unit is capable of achieving. Under real-world conditions, poor maintenance may increase your energy consumption. Efficient air conditioners are inspected each spring by professional HVAC technicians. During this inspection, our team at N.E.W. Plumbing and Heating performs all the manufacturer recommended steps. This keeps your cooling system covered by warranty.

We also perform additional steps to central air systems to optimize energy use. The additional cleaning of internal components, adjustment of electrical hardware and testing of major components make sure your Energy Star-certified AC unit is still operating at top levels. Some models with high energy-efficiency ratings have smart features like energy-saver modes to conserve energy. Our team is factory trained with manufacturers and utilizes state-of-the-art equipment to verify operations.

The final phase of the annual cooling system inspection applies to your broader ventilation system. While the best air conditioner has the power to cool spaces and conserve energy, leaks in air ducts, closed vents, blocked vents and dirt within your ventilation are major wastes of energy. We help homeowners understand how to achieve maximum energy savings by adjusting their ventilation system. We also help homeowners know when to upgrade thermostats and how adjusting indoor temperature saves money without affecting comfort.

Timely Repairs

Most efficient units will operate for well over a decade before they show any signs of repair. This often creates a false sense of security in homeowners, but even the best air conditioners may eventually need repair. Energy-efficient air conditioners that are well-maintained benefit from timely repairs. During our inspections, N.E.W. Plumbing and Heating often discovers air conditioners need minor repairs. We provide expert insight when a part or component is showing indications of wear.

Worn systems strain to produce efficient cooling. In fact, a compromised air conditioner often does not have the cooling capacity necessary to achieve the desired temperature setting. In these cases, you may see early signs including a sudden spike in your electric bill. As previously noted, energy-efficiency ratings rely on ideal conditions. If a part begins to fail, then your air conditioner will run for longer cycles and likely will run more frequently. This is a waste of energy.

You can avoid excessively high energy bills by monitoring your air conditioner. Warning signs include:

  • Unusual sounds from the air conditioner, the air handler in your home or the ventilation system
  • Excessive dust on vents, indoor surfaces and air filters
  • Hot spots inside your home or uneven temperatures between rooms
  • Odd smells from air conditioners like burnt or musty odors

Respond quickly to the signs your air conditioner needs help. The sooner our team arrives and diagnoses the issue, the less energy you will waste. Energy-efficient air conditioners have many moving parts, and hot summer days and long nights can strain performance.

The Best Energy-Efficient Air Conditioners

There are many factors to consider when choosing the most energy-efficient air conditioners for your home. When you are planning to upgrade your system, N.E.W. Plumbing and Heating  provides expert advice to guide you through the process. Our team builds a strategy to find an air conditioner that offers the most value in initial cost, powerful performance and long-term energy efficiency.