It’s easy to take your air conditioner for granted. You likely never give it a moment’s thought as it hums quietly in the background cooling your home to the perfect temperature on those sweltering hot days… until suddenly it doesn’t. Next thing you know you’re on the phone with an AC company who asks you what type of system you have, and all you know is it’s an “air conditioner” – you have no idea what kind of unit it is. Well, if you’re in the market for replacing your old air conditioner, then it’s time to educate yourself about an important component of your home that’s integral to your comfort, well-being and wallet.
Let’s cover the basic parts of a central air conditioning system, how it functions to cool the air, the ever-important SEER energy rating every new AC unit has, and how to find the perfect AC system for your home.
Central air conditioning systems come in three types: split systems, packaged units and ductless systems. Let’s just look at split and packaged for now. Split systems have two separate parts; one part located outside the home that contains the condensing unit and compressor, and one part located inside the home containing an evaporator coil. A packaged unit has the condenser, compressor and evaporator coil located in one single unit that typically sits outside the home on the roof or on a slab next to the foundation.
Split System vs Packaged Unit
Split and packaged systems both work the same way, however, there are some differences. For example, split systems are much larger than packaged units, are typically cheaper to repair and maintain, and come with higher energy-efficiency SEER ratings. Packaged units are typically cheaper to install because there’s just one piece, but exposure to the outside elements could cause damage or a shortened life span, and they have lower energy-efficiency SEER ratings.
The deciding factor as to whether a split system or a package unit is the best one for you is largely dependent on the layout and size of your home. A good rule of thumb, though, is to stay consistent with what you already have and replace a split system with a split system and a packaged unit with a packaged unit, especially if you have been generally satisfied with the level of comfort your system provides.
To discover more about the different types of systems, click here to watch a video explainer designed just for you.
How Air Conditioners Work
Air conditioners use refrigerants to cool indoor air by drawing the warm air out of your home through ducts, and supplying cool air through the registers and vents in the ceilings or floors. Besides cooling the indoor air, air conditioners also regulate the ambient temperature of the home via a thermostat. Additionally, they act as dehumidifiers, because reducing the temperature of humid air reduces its moisture content, and air filtration systems as they remove airborne particles from the circulating air through the use of filters. That’s quite a lot going on for one air conditioner!
What’s even more impressive is how the components of an air conditioner, the coils, condenser, compressor, fans, and blower, replicate the physical law of when a liquid converts to a gas, it absorbs heat (known as phase conversion) in order to generate cooling. Warm air moves over refrigerant-filled coils, causing the refrigerant to evaporate from a liquid to a gaseous state – absorbing heat as it does so – and then it is compressed and condensed back into a liquid state for the process to begin all over again. The chilled air is then circulated throughout your house by blowers located in the air handling unit.
Some useful terms are included on the Cooling Cheat Sheet below.
New Air Conditioning Systems Can Save You Money
Air conditioners certainly have come a long way since the first system was developed by Willis Carrier in 1902. The device he created blew air across chilled pipes to lower the temperature and humidity levels. Today’s air conditioning systems effectively and efficiently cool your home by using state-of-the-art equipment that uses a lot less energy than the models produced just a few years ago do.
In fact, there’s a good number of energy-efficient AC models to choose from now, ranging from 13 SEER all the way to 26 SEER, with higher-rated models being manufactured every year. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and indicates the energy-efficiency of a particular air conditioning system. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy-efficient it is, which means increased savings on your utility bill over the life of the air conditioner. Although more expensive than base models, you can usually recoup the extra cost of purchasing a high SEER unit over several years by the lower monthly utility bills you’ll receive. Most commonly, people gravitate toward the 14-18 SEER range when purchasing equipment for their home.
If your current air conditioner has been around awhile and showing signs of needing repair, such as not cooling your home like it should on hot, summer days, skyrocketing utility bills, or clanking, banging, or rattling sounds, then it’s probably time to start shopping for a replacement. The good news is that depending on the SEER rating of your current system, newer SEER models can save you a lot of money on your energy bill! If your current air conditioner is pretty ancient, then it could be an 8 SEER. Replacing it with a 16 SEER unit would save you nearly 50% on energy costs and significantly reduce your utility bill.
How to Find Your AC Unit’s SEER Rating
To find out the SEER rating of your current split system unit, look for the yellow and black tag stuck to the side of the condenser. You will see the words “Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio” and the number underneath is the SEER number. If you can’t find it there, look for a performance information sheet stuck to the front of the air handler on the indoor part of the unit. Most packaged units have the SEER rating listed on the black and yellow “hang tag” located on the outside of the unit. If you’ve looked everywhere and still can’t find your SEER rating, then the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute has a handy directory look up on their website here, where you can put in the make and model of your AC system to find the SEER rating.
Now that you know your current system’s SEER number, you can calculate how much more energy efficient your new air conditioner will be. Chances are, your old unit has a SEER rating that is no longer made or allowed to be made by law. In 2015, the Department of Energy (DOE) mandated that all new air conditioners manufactured in the U.S. be a minimum of 13 SEER for northern states and minimum of 14 SEER for southeastern and southwestern states.
Use the link below to see the SEER Minimums map and discover the government requirements for your state.
Why Having an Energy Efficient Air Conditioner Is Important
The U.S. Department of Energy implemented energy conservation standards for air conditioners, and other appliances we typically use on a daily basis, to help save consumers billions of dollars each year and to reduce harmful effects on the environment caused by our energy consumption. According to the DOE’s website, three-quarters of all homes in the U.S. have air conditioners which use close to 6% of all the electricity produced in the United States, costing homeowners $29 billion annually. As a result, about 117 million metric tons of carbon dioxide are released into the air each year.
This is a serious concern because carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas that traps heat within the Earth’s atmosphere (for decades, if not centuries!) and contributes more to global warming and climate change than any other green house gas. More and more extreme weather events are being linked to climate change, and the effects of climate change are far-reaching: from rising temperatures causing a shift in precipitation patterns that change the growing patterns of plants threatening wildlife dependent on this source of food, to rising sea levels eroding shorelines and destroying ecosystems, to farms and crops producing lower yields resulting in significant economic losses.
So, limiting CO2 emissions is imperative for protecting the environment and minimizing climate change. Do your part to reduce your carbon footprint by minimizing the amount of energy you waste as much as possible. Switch to energy efficient light bulbs, walk or ride your bike instead of driving a car, take shorter showers, and install an energy-efficient air conditioning system with a high SEER rating.
Questions to Ask Before Purchasing Your New Air Conditioning System
Now that you’ve determined you’re upgrading your current air conditioning system with a more energy-efficient one, and you’ve educated yourself about the different types of central air conditioning systems, there are some important questions you should ask your contractor before your new unit is installed, such as:
With a little bit of AC knowledge and asking the right questions, you will be able to make the best choice in air conditioning systems for your home.
You may think that you can’t afford a central air conditioner, but we’re here to tell you that there are several quality units that cost less than $2,000 to consider. Air conditioners that cost less than $2,000 are typically single-stage and not very efficient. These units would be a good choice for someone who lives in a mild climate where summers aren’t too hot, who is planning to move within the next five years, or who doesn’t live in the home year-round and would only use the unit on a part-time basis. Think vacation homes, cottages, guest apartments, etc. Below is more information about the top central ACs that cost less than $2,000!
1. Goodman 16 SEER SSX16 Central Air Conditioner
This is an Energy Star unit with single-stage operation. It could work well in moderate and warm climates, but not hot climates. It comes with a lifetime compressor warranty, a rarity in this industry. This unit will give you the most efficiency for the money with a 16 SEER.
2. Rheem Prestige RAPL-JEZ Central Air Conditioner
This 14 SEER unit is part of Rheem’s top-of-the-line series. It comes with a 10-year parts warranty and a 5-year unit replacement warranty on the compressor. If the compressor fails in the first five years, Rheem will replace the entire AC.
3. Amana ASX14 Central Air Conditioner
The Amanda ASX14 it built with the industry-leading Copeland Scroll compressor. The compressor is backed by a lifetime warranty and the remaining parts are covered by a 10-year parts warranty. This unit very similar to the Goodman 16 SEER SSX16, although not as efficient.
4. Armstrong Model 4SCU14LE Central Air Conditioner
Armstrong recently revamped its HVAC line and the 4SCU14LE is a great new innovation. This Energy Star unit has a 14.5 SEER rating and comes with a 10-year parts warranty that is just as good as Carrier Infinity air conditioners.
5. Ruud Ultra Series UANL-JEZ
With a 13 SEER, this is not an Energy Start units. It is a single-stage air conditioner is built with quality parts. The Ultra Series is considered Ruud’s top-of-the-line.
6. Bryant Legacy 113A Central Air Conditioner
This is another single-stage unit with a 13 SEER. Even though it is not Energy Star-rated, it offers good quality and performance. It is backed by a comprehensive 10-year warranty, which is above average for models with this efficiency.
7. American Standard Silver SI Air Conditioner
This is a quality single-stage unit with a 13 SEER. It is made by one of the top brands in the industry.
Check out our other ratings and reviews to learn more information about any of these units. You can shop and compare to determine what AC would work best in your home. Once you pick a unit, be sure to have it installed by a qualified HVAC professional. Proper installation will ensure that your unit runs with the highest possible performance and efficiency for many years to come.
Central air conditioning is within your reach! Here are three excellent central AC units that cost less than $2,000 in sizes up to 5 tons. These units will provide durable performance and are backed by good warranties to boot. With proper maintenance, any of these units could last up to 20 years.
Top 3 Air Conditioners Under $2000!!
1. Amana ASX16 Central Air Conditioner
This Energy Star-rated 16 SEER AC is designed for all but the very warmest regions. These units offer single-stage operation, so slight temperature fluctuations may be noticeable. If you want better performance, consider a two-stage model that will cost well over $2,000. This unit is built with the top-rated Copeland UltraTech scroll compressor. It is backed by a lifetime warranty for the original owner. If the compressor ever fails, Amana will replace the entire condensing unit. Amana covers the remaining parts with a 10-year limited warranty. The compressor is protected by a factory-installed filter drier that removes moisture and debris from the refrigerant. A compressor blanket made of dense foam and a sound-control top keep noise down.
Current pricing for this model:
2. Armstrong 4SCU14LE 14 SEER Central Air Conditioner
Armstrong has recently revamped its HVAC lineup and the results are clear with the 4SCU14LE. This unit has a 14 SEER and is best suited for a cooler climate because it’s not extremely efficient. It comes with the industry-average 10-year warranty. If properly maintained, the unit will last for 15 to 20 years. This unit is an ideal choice part-time use in vacation homes, cottages, and guest apartments. This does include upgraded MHT Technology. It evenly pulls air over the outdoor coil to quickly transfer heat from the cool house.
Current pricing for this model:
3. Goodman GSX16 Central Air Conditioner
When it comes to value, Goodman is regarded as an industry leader. It makes good HVAC components at great prices. This unit has a 16 SEER, single-stage heat pump that should last 15 years or more with consistent maintenance. That includes cleaning the coil and checking for minor issues before they become serious. The Goodman GSX16 is backed by a comprehensive 10-year limited warranty.
Current pricing for this model:
For basic cooling and dehumidification from a quality air conditioner, look no further than these units. Be sure to get at least three quotes from qualified HVAC contractors before you decide to buy. Choose a quality contractor with a good reputation for excellent installation.
When it comes to gas furnaces, do you get what you pay for? Not exactly. There are many affordable, quality units available for less than $2,000. Most top manufacturers make great furnaces at even better prices. These units would work well for homeowners who live in warmer climates and who don’t plan to stay in their current home for more than 10 to 12 years.
1. Lennox Merit Series ML195 Gas Furnace
This furnace is 95 percent efficient and Energy Star-rated. It will reduce your utility bills when replacing an older unit. It is built with a high-quality heat exchanger and that will provide many years of reliable service. This is a great option for a medium-sized home.
2. Dave Lennox Signature Collection SL280V Variable Speed Gas Furnace
The gas furnace is 80 percent efficient and may be the best in its class. It features two-stage heating with a variable-speed fan for added comfort. It is made with outstanding quality and will easily last for 20 years in a moderate to warm climate.
3. Goodman GMVM96
This is the only modulating gas furnace on the market for less than $2,000. The modulating gas valve provides exceptional climate control and will reduce utility bills.
4. Bryant Preferred Series 95 AFUE
The Bryant Preferred Series is an industry-favorite that is built with quality, efficient components. It features two-stage heating with a variable speed blower for precise climate control.
5. Amana AMVC95 Gas Furnace
Amana a quality brand that is often overlooked. This furnace is 95 percent efficient and is equipped with a two-stage gas valve and variable-speed blower for enhanced climate control. This is the largest model on the list at 115,000 BTUs but is just a tad over budget at $2,069.
6. American Standard Silver SI+ 80 Gas Furnace
American Standard is largely considered the standard for gas furnaces. The Silver SI+80 is not quite the top-of-the-line, but very close! This is a quality furnace that is relatively efficient. It is not well-suited for someone who values energy efficiency or who lives in a cold climate. This unit would do well in a warm climate where the furnace isn’t heavily used.
7. Trane Two-Stage XV80i Gas Furnace
This is another two-stage furnace that includes a variable-speed fan for enhanced climate control. It comes with a 10-year general parts warranty and a 20-year heat exchanger warranty.
As always we recommend using a qualified contractor to install your HVAC equipment. Proper installation ensures that your unit operates with maximum performance and efficiency for many years to come.
Amana makes some of the best HVAC equipment in the industry, including full line of gas furnaces. This manufacturer offers 20 different gas furnaces to choose from, so there’s a performance and efficiency level available for every type of home. The units range in efficiency from high-efficiency 96 percent models to standard efficiency 80 percent models. Check out our other brand price lists to compare these units to similar models from other manufacturers. For more information on any model, see the model reviews and ratings on this website.
Amana AMVM96 Gas Furnace Price List: This is the top-of-the-line model. It comes equipped with a variable gas valve that delivers the precise amount of gas needed to keep your home’s temperature comfortable and balanced. This furnace is not short and features and comes with the Million-Aire dual diameter tubular heat exchanger, largely considered to be the best on the market today. It also includes a variable-speed blower for added efficiency. Amana also includes an unbeatable warranty with its furnaces. If the heat exchanger ever fails the original owner, Amana will replace the entire furnace. The Amana AMVM96 gas furnace is an Energy Star model and 96 percent efficient.
Here is current pricing for this model:
Amana AMVC95 Gas Furnace Price List: This model is one step down from the AMVM96 and does not include a variable-capacity gas valve. This furnace is Energy Star rated at 95 percent efficient and has a two-stage gas valve with a variable-speed blower. The unit does include the top-rated Million-Aire heat exchanger and the same lifetime unit replacement warranty.
Here is current pricing for this model:
Amana AMH95 Twin Comfort Gas Furnace Price List: This model has a great combination of efficiency and affordability. It is Energy Star rated at 95 percent efficiency. It has a single-stage gas valve with a multispeed blower, which means your hoe won’t be as comfortable as it would with one of the higher end models. It’s a great choice for a budget-conscious buyer who wants an efficient unit. It does come with the top-rated Million-Aire heat exchanger and the lifetime furnace replacement warranty.
Amana AMVC8 Gas Furnace Price List: This furnace is 80 percent efficient and would work well in a warmer climate. Many homeowners choose this unit for part-time locations like a vacation home or cabin where the unit won’t be run often. This furnace is great quality and features Amana’s Million-Aire heat exchanger backed by the lifetime unit replacement warranty. This unit does not have the secondary heat exchanger included in other, higher-efficiency models. It does have a two-2-stage burner and a variable-speed motor.
Here is the pricing for this unit:
Amana AMH8 Gas Furnace Price List: This is a quality, affordable gas furnace. It’s 80 percent efficient and has the Million-Aire heat exchanger. As with all Amana products, it does come with the lifetime unit replacement warranty. It’s a very good value for the price. Here is pricing information:
It’s plain to see that Amana has one of the most diverse furnace line-ups out there. It truly has a unit for every need and budget.
There’s still time to take advantage of tax credits for energy efficient home upgrades.
Tax Credits Versus Tax Deductions: Deductions reduce your taxable income while credits reduce the amount of tax you owe. Tax credits give you a bit more bang for the buck!
Here is the equipment eligible for HVAC tax credits:
Please note that there is a $500 cap on the credits a single household can receive.
Alternative Energy: There are HVAC systems on the market that use alternative energy, like solar or geothermal, to heat and cool the home. Homeowners with these systems can take advantage of a 30 percent tax credit on the system with no cap.
IRS Information:This information is also available in section 25C of the Internal Revenue Code. You may also consult a tax professional for more information.To receive any of the above tax credits, complete IRS form 5695 and submit with your taxes.
Aire-Flo is a budget line of HVAC equipment produced by Lennox. Aire-Flo offers quality units at an affordable price that typically last for 12 to 15 years. There are two Aire-Flo models in the lineup. This article includes pricing information for both models. The Aire-Flo 4AC14L Series is a single-stage model with a 14 SEER. The Aire-Flo 4AC13L Series is a single-stage model with a 13 SEER. Check out our reviews for more information about each model or to compare them with other value brands like Goodman, Coleman, and Payne.The Aire-Flo 4AC14L Series is ideal for mild climates where summers are not too hot. If you live in a warm climate, you’ll need a more efficient unit. There are seven models in this unit that range from 1.5 to 5 tons of cooling capacity.
Here are the prices for this series:
The Aire-Flo 4AC13L Series is a popular choice for residences, cottages, cabins, workshops, guest apartments, and rental properties. It’s an affordable unit that doesn’t have great efficiency. Do not purchase this unit if you intend to use it heavily or live in a warm climate. Here are the prices for this series:
Choosing your Aire-Flo Air Conditioner: Aire-Flo does not offer as much selection as most brands. They exist to provide a quality, affordable AC option. Neither model would do well in a warm climate where it would be used heavily. Running these units on high would result in very high energy bills. They will last for 12 to 15 years when used regularly with routine maintenance. Thy will last longer in vacation homes or other residences with limited use.
For the health of your body and finances
Not only does an energy efficient house save you money, it improves the wellbeing of yourself and the environment too. Melbourne, Florida is home to some relaxing and enjoyable locations like the Brevard Zoo or Cocoa Beach. If you happen to reside in Melbourne, you probably want your home to be as soothing and stress-free as possible too. Having an energy efficient home can make you feel better about your life by saving you money, improving your health, and reducing harm to the environment.
Some benefits of an energy efficient home:
Homeowners have the potential to save thousands of dollars every year by having a more energy efficient home. Whether it’s by maintaining a more efficient air conditioner, having quality insulation, or energy-saving light bulbs, you’ll end up using less energy. This means less money spent overall.
Reduced allergies & contaminants
Clean air ducts, fresh air conditioner filters (or AC replacement), and well-sealed windows will all prevent allergens from entering your living space and causing you respiratory symptoms. Other benefits by having these three energy efficient characteristics are keeping out dust and humidity, therefore lowering the chance of mold and bacteria to grow in your ducts or living space. Your health is invaluable. It is worth having your air ducts and air conditioner looked at from time to time for the sake of better breathing and overall health.
It’s been shown that having a more energy efficient home results in a higher resale value for your home. Newer customers are preferring houses that are more environmentally friendly, and they’re willing to pay more for houses that are more energy efficient.
More comfortable home
Quality insulation means that the elements of the outdoors make minimal impact on the interior of your home. On those hot and sticky days, you will notice a difference that good insulation makes on your living space. Pair this with a smooth-running air conditioner, and you will not even wonder about the outside temperatures.
By having a more energy efficient home, you are using less energy. Simply put, you’re putting less strain on the environment.
In the long run, it’s easier to have an energy efficient home. A clean air conditioner, well-insulated walls and roof, long-lasting light bulbs means less time spent worrying about your personal health, or the health of your house.
Should I go energy efficient?
It would be wise to make the necessary changes to have a more energy efficient home. Whether it’s finding a good deal on a wholesale energy efficient air conditioner, getting your air ducts cleaned, or having your insulation renewed, you will be helping your health, your wallet, and the world around you.
For most homeowners, running the central AC accounts for nearly 45 percent of energy expenses. Properly maintaining the AC unit is the best way to reduce energy bills and prolong the life of the unit. Here are a few tips to cut costs on running the AC system.
Take advantage of these tips and start saving now on your home cooling costs!