Central Air Conditioner


Central air conditioners are more efficient than room air conditioners. In addition, they are out of the way, quiet, and convenient to operate. But to save energy and money, you should try to buy an energy-efficient air conditioner and reduce your central air conditioner's energy use. In an average air-conditioned home, air conditioning consumes more than 2000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, causing power plants to emit about 3500 pounds of carbon dioxide and 31 pounds of sulfur dioxide.

If you are considering adding central air conditioning to your home or small business, the deciding factor may the need for ductwork. If the building has ductwork for a forced-air heating system, you may be able to use it for air distribution. Whether or not your existing ducts will work for air conditioning equipment depends on the equipment capability and your relative heating and cooling loads. Check with a heating and cooling contractor in your area.

Funding for many of these products is nearly depleted. Once the funds for a product category are depleted, rebates will no longer be available. Submission of an application does not guarantee a rebate.

Rebates on qualifying central air conditioners are being offered from January 1 through December 31, 2005, while funding is available. Rebate applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis. In order to qualify, products must be purchased and completely installed, and applications must be postmarked by December 31, 2005.

Products purchased in 2004 are eligible for rebates in 2005. Please note, if rebate levels have changed for a given product for 2005, rebates will be paid at 2005 levels.

Rebate and product information:

You may be eligible for a rebate from $200 - $625 for qualifying products. At all times use a qualified C-20 contractor or technician to install and service your HVAC equipment.

Choosing, Sizing, and Installing a New, Efficient Central Air Conditioner
Proper sizing and installation are key elements in determining air conditioner efficiency. Too large a unit will not adequately remove humidity. Too small a unit will not be able to attain a comfortable temperature on the hottest days. Improper unit location, lack of insulation, and improper duct installation can greatly diminish efficiency.

When buying an air conditioner, look for the model with a high efficiency. Central air conditioners are rated according to their seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). SEER indicates the relative amount of energy needed to provide a specific cooling output. Many older systems have SEER ratings of 6 or less. The minimum SEER allowed today is 10 for a split system and 9.7 for a single-package system. Look for the Energy Star label for central air conditioners with SEER ratings or 12 or greater.

Other Features to Look For When Buying an Air Conditioner

  • A unit that operates quietly
  • A fan-only switch, so you can use the unit for nighttime ventilation to substantially reduce air-conditioning costs
  • A filter check light to remind you to check the filter after a predetermined number of operating hours
  • An automatic-delay fan switch to turn off the fan a few minutes after the compressor turns off.