Last year we got a new air conditioner/heat pump unit. Our other one was under-sized for our house, and was probably about an 8 to 10 seer when it was installed (approximately 1994).
We replaced it with a 5 ton, 15 SEER unit (SEER is how they measure the energy efficiency — the best seer ones seemed to be around 18, I think… it was a while ago). Just for an idea, we bought from ChasRoberts — and it was about 5600 dollars (they also had to do some other stuff because we were up-sizing and adding a clean air vent.
So, here is a comparison from this year’s and last year’s utility bills:
8/2011 — 267 (partial month) 8/2012 — 149 (118 difference)
9/11 — 365 9/12 — 225 (140)
10/11 — 300 10/12 — 166 (134)
11/2011 — 365 11/2012 — 123 (242!!!!)
That last one seems a little weird…. not sure how that is right, but I am happy either way.
1. You can put the temperature to “hold” for a certain set number of hours, so if I want it to not come on while we’re gone, I just set it to a temperature it’s not going to come on, and then when we’re coming home it will be back to cool. You can also do this for vacation, so your house is 900 degrees when you come home.
2. I like that it has 7 days of temperature control. Because I am a control freak I set it for Sundays and our church schedule (it doesn’t come on while we’re at church) and because we do a money saving program through SRP I have it pre-cool before 3pm to save money.
Anyway, electricity costs here in the summer are a pretty big concern and I’m happy to say that we have consistently saved money with this system. I am also a cool-ness miser and I set ours to 79 most of the time. That seems to be a bit higher then most people I know but it works for me.
Also, with that thermostat, I can set it down a few degrees for a half an hour and cool it down when I’m feeling hot, and then it will just go back to 79.
This isn’t to say that I think you should buy a new air conditioner if the one you have is working perfectly fine. Ours wasn’t putting out much cool-ness, and we were pretty miserable so it was a good investment overall.