Savings between 14.5 and 16 SEER ratings

jham65September 1, 2011

Is there any rule of thumb or calculation for determining the payback of different SEER ratings on AC units?

I am deciding between a 14.5 SEER and a 16 SEER central air unit. After tax credit it is a price difference of $300 ($600-$300 tax credit).

I live in So. Cal. and my average electricity cost comes out to be about $0.19/ kwh. I only use the AC about 10 days per month during the 4 summer months.

So is it worth $300 to get the higher efficiency unit?

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Although the payback time might be a long time, $300 isn't a very expensive upgrade cost. Its often nice to have nicer equipment of higher efficiency equipment.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 7:36AM
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Usually higher efficiency condenser incorporate additional features which made improve comfort and reliability.

Depending on your installation and equipment you may very additional savings by moving up to a 16 SEER unit.

Do you have the model numbers of the equipment you are considering?

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 9:25AM
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Thanks for the feedback. The condensor unit is the same for both options: Bryant 116BMA048, but the efficiency boost comes with a different furnace: either the 310JAV090048 or the variable speed fan on the 313JAV090048.

I'm leaning toward the higher efficiency unit.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 12:39PM
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A fixed speed blower will always run at the same speed regardless of the static pressure. But a variable speed blower will increase the RPMs in order to maintain a constant air flow. If you have a duct work issues or a dirty filter, the amount of energy used by the variable speed blower could be more than the fixed speed. This will subtract from your energy savings.

I personally would get the variable speed furnance for the extra $300.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 10:57PM
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Very good point. I'll be sure to keep things clean and clear.

16 SEER unit it is-just committed and it will be installed tomorrow.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 1:00PM
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good, the vs will make a lot of difference in comfort.

best of luck.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 10:36AM
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you can find a download spread sheet calculator at

about 1/2 way down the page.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 3:40PM
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