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Boy, if I had a dollar for every time somebody asked me “how much would I save on my power bill if I upgraded my air conditioner from a 13 seer to a 16 seer.” Most of the time the answer is never what they want to hear.

The general consensus is that the utility consumption from a 13 seer to a 16 seer tends to be functionally better. In fact the average homeowner whose property was built in the 90s or early 2000’s that wants to upgrade, to a 16 seer may not save enough money to cover the cost difference between the 13 seer and the 16 seer in under 15 years. For those that live in house is smaller than 1650 square feet it could take more than 20 years to recoup the extra money spent for the upgrade.

The truth is 16 seer air conditioners blow air at the same temperature as a 13 seer or 20 seer for that matter. Show houses do not get cool faster or stay cool longer.

On the flip side of that coin if you have already upgraded your windows to low E, added a radiant barrier to your roof, added double insulation to your ductwork and double insulated your attic then possibly it is time to consider buying a higher seer air conditioner.

All of the above actually applies moreover if you have a gas furnace with straight cool air conditioning. If you have a heat pump then other factors come into play. Such as, EER rating. This might mean that you would benefit strategically much more if you have a heat pump because it uses the same components to heat your house as it does to cool your house.

The efficiency of new furnaces is measured by the annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE), a measure of seasonal performance. Furnaces today are between 80% AFUE and 98% AFUE. Traditional “power combustion” furnaces are 80-82% AFUE. Above 90% AFUE, a furnace is “condensing,” which means it recaptures some of the heat wasted in traditional systems by condensing escaping water vapor. Consider the following when selecting a new furnace
The SEER rating of a unit is the cooling output during a typical cooling-season divided by the total electric energy input during the same period. The higher the unit’s SEER rating the more energy efficient it is. In the U.S., the SEER is the ratio of cooling inBritish thermal unit (BTU) to the energy consumed in watt-hours.

Your heat pump how to do double duty as opposed to those people who use gas furnaces to heat their home. Because you’re going to use your heat pump for approximately 5 months in the summer and 4 months in the winter it may make sense if you live in Summerlin and Northwest Las Vegas to upgrade to a higher seer rating.

As most people who live in Vegas will tell you they only need their air conditioning 4 to 5 months out of the year and their heating could be as little as 2 months. Getting these statistics it is difficult to justify spending 2000 to 5000 dollars more on a high SEER rating just for using it a few months out of the year.  But if you use it your air conditioner and heater for 9 months to 10 months it becomes easier to justify the additional expense.

Keep this in mind. Most homeowners report savings of only $150 per year. As much as $550 per year if they have a heat pump.