Bigger is not better when it comes to buying a new air conditioner. Having a large air conditioning unit start up and cool for a short period then shut off is similar to driving your car in heavy traffic, it uses way more energy. A smaller unit will run like a car set on cruise control. It is much better for a smaller unit to run longer. It is more efficient and less starting and stopping puts less strain on the unit meaning fewer repairs down the road.
Today's best air conditioners are 30 to 40% more efficient that units made in the 70's. Even if your air conditioner is only 10 years old, replacing it could save you 20 to 40% in your cooling costs. So what do you look for in an energy efficient unit? The SEER rating is the seasonal energy efficiency ratio. The best way to think of SEER rating is to relate it to gas mileage in your car, the higher the SEER rating the more efficient the unit. The minimum SEER rating today is 13, this is 30% more efficient that the previous minimum of 10. The next most important issue when buying an air conditioner is to make sure the unit is installed correctly. Proper installation can save thousands of dollars down the road. What do you look for when choosing an AC company to install your new air conditioner? In the Arizona market look for a contractor that is APS and SRP certified first and foremost. APS and SRP both offer rebates in some cases when you upgrade your AC unit and more importantly they do random checks on installation done by their certified contractors. This helps ensure proper installation. The next best thing is to ask friends and neighbors for referrals, check referral companies like Angie’s List for a company's ratings, or check their Facebook page to see what kind of work they have done.