System Cost vs Operating Cost

Most homeowners would be correct in selecting a standard efficiency air conditioning system if the only consideration is economic.  A majority of experts believe that you aren’t likely to break even on the extra expense of a more efficient central air conditioner. It’s analogous to buying a hybrid car: your cost of use will be lower, but you aren’t likely to save enough money during the life of the product to offset the higher purchase price.

The value of efficiency much beyond 13 SEER is somewhat controversial. Government and environmental organizations advocate for the highest efficiency you can afford. If you can afford greater efficiency, however, you will use less electricity and make a contribution to the environment, but you may not recoup the extra cost in energy savings.

If you have already reduced the load and AC size by improving the building envelope, and air distribution system, further energy cost reductions can be accomplished by increasing the efficiency of the air conditioner.

See “What is SEER”