Understand These 4 AC Terms To Save Money on Energy Bills

Before you shop for your next new air conditioner, be sure you understand these 4 terms.

Save MoneyBuying an air conditioner can be confusing. There are so many different brands and models to choose from, with different features and price points. It can be tempting to just opt for the cheapest air conditioner to save money, or else just buy the biggest one to get the most cooling, but in reality either of these choices could be a mistake. An air conditioner needs to be properly sized to work properly in your home or business, and it also needs to have solid, reliable construction and energy-efficient features if you want it to be cheap to operate as well as to purchase.

Fortunately, simply by understanding these four AC terms you can make great progress towards understanding how to select a new air conditioner that will keep you cool without costing an arm and a leg to run.


SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, and is a measure of how inexpensive a given air conditioner is to operate. While an older model produced before the US Department of Energy’s mandated improvements took effect might have a SEER as low as 6, now you can get units with ratings as high as 25. These units can deliver significant savings, especially in climates like southern California where we use our air conditioners almost all year long. For example, simply upgrading from a SEER 6 to a SEER 16 can save you about $415 per year according to experts.


Sometimes also referred to as variable-speed, modulation means that the air conditioner has multiple fan and blower settings that make the air conditioner less expensive to run. These settings prevent sudden, frequent blasts of cold air and instead deliver a steady supply of air for more even and more comfortable cooling. Depending on your home and your usage, you could save upwards of $500 per year with a variable speed system.


Humid air feels warmer than dry air, so the more moisture in your indoor air the more you will want to run your air conditioner. By investing in a unit with highly effective humidity control, you can avoid having to set your thermostat so low and save energy as a result. This could save you up to $300 annually.

Heat Pump

Finally, be sure you realize that a heat pump can actually help cool your home! A reversible heat pump can work as a heater or an air conditioner with a simple flip of a switch. In the summer a heat pump can move hot air from inside your home and release it outside. Not to be confused with geothermal heat pumps, which are expensive to install, this type of heat pump is affordable as well as efficient. Some experts say you could save up to $750 per year with a heat pump doing the work of an air conditioner in your home or business.