When the temperatures in Florida go up, we all fight the urge to turn our thermostats down — way down. And in the coldest winter months, heating can cost even more than cooling. This guide will help you get the most comfort for your money and provide guidance for when you need to replace your air conditioner (A/C).
When shopping for a new A/C system, we recommend buying a high-efficiency unit. It may cost more up front, but the unit will eventually pay for itself with the money you'll save on your electric bill. You can print out this comparison worksheet to determine the estimated payback period.
In most Florida homes, air conditioning accounts for approximately 50 percent or more of the annual electric bill. Here are some tips to start controlling your energy consumption.
This glossary of commonly used air-conditioning terms will make it easier to talk to your contractor.
Straight cool system - An air-conditioning system that includes a cooling cycle only. Gas, oil, or electric strip heating may be included in straight cool systems.
Strip Heating (or resistance heating) - A form of heating, where air is blown over electrically heated metal coils and circulated into the living space.
Heat pump system - Cooling and heating system that provides a cooling cycle during the summer and a heating cycle during the winter.
SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) - A measure of the average annual cooling efficiency of an air conditioner or heat pump. We recommend a minimum SEER of 15.0.
HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) - A measure of the average annual heating efficiency of a heat pump. We recommend an HSPF of greater than 7.7.
The higher the SEER or HSPF, the more efficient the model.
These are units of measure that determine an A/C system's size: