Central AC systems are becoming more popular in Canada, with 68% of air-conditioned households opting for central AC over individual units. But when it comes to finding the right AC for your home in Canada, you can’t afford to pick the most convenient product and hope for the best. It’s in your best interest to pay attention to AC efficiency.
Canada has federal laws in place governing the energy-efficiency ratings of home appliances like central AC. But even without the law, it’s worth your while to consider a high-efficiency AC system. An energy-efficient AC may cost you more in the short term, but it can earn back a huge amount of money in savings on your summertime energy bills.
If you’re in the market for a new AC system, we’re here to help. Keep reading, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about finding an energy-efficient AC.
The Bottom Line: Most Canadians should opt for a central air conditioner rated between 14 and 18 SEER.
Find out below how factors like your budget, available government rebates, and more will impact what’s right for your home.
What Is a SEER Rating?
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and it’s a way to measure the energy efficiency of your AC system. It measures the cooling output of an air conditioner over a season of use and then divides it by the energy it uses to provide a SEER rating.
New developments in HVAC technology mean that modern AC systems are much more energy efficient than older ones. More efficient systems are being installed all the time, as older, less efficient systems break down or become obsolete. These days, it’s rare to find a machine with a SEER of 10 or lower in operation.
However, SEER only measures the maximum efficiency of an AC system. It isn’t a guarantee that the system will operate at its rated SEER efficiency all the time. AC systems need regular maintenance to work as efficiently as possible, so it’s important to keep on top of your system’s maintenance needs!
AC Efficiency in Canada
In 1995, the Canadian federal government introduced the Energy Efficiency Regulations. These laws set standards for the energy efficiency of various home appliances and systems, including central air conditioners.
In Canada, central AC systems must meet the minimum allowable efficiency level of 13 SEER. AC systems with a SEER of 14.5 or higher can earn the ENERGY STAR® designation, proving that they meet a high standard of energy efficiency.
And ENERGY STAR rated air conditioning systems may qualify for government or utility company rebates (if any are available in your area) when replacing an older model.
High-efficiency AC systems are becoming more popular, and some central AC systems are rated as high as 25 SEER. But it’s important to remember that Canadian summers are usually shorter and less intense than summers in the southern USA.
AC systems rated above 20 SEER aren’t usually worth the investment in Canada. They’re considerably more expensive, so the energy savings you make won’t offer you the same return on investment.
Why Choose Energy-Efficient AC?
We’ve already talked about the legal requirements for AC efficiency in Canada. But what about the financial benefits?
An AC system with a SEER of 14 will keep your home reasonably cool in summer. But opting for a 16 or 18 SEER system can save you a significant amount of money on your energy bills, too. Over the ten or fifteen years of your high-efficiency AC’s life, it could save you a significant amount on your summertime hydro bill.
You should also keep in mind that installing a more energy-efficient AC system might entitle you to a rebate. As mentioned above, federal, provincial, and local governments, as well as many utility companies, may offer you ways to save if you buy a high-efficiency AC system.
Plus local HVAC contractors also often have promotions and deals for buying a new AC.
Lastly, the energy-efficient option is usually the most ethical one. By lowering your energy consumption with a more efficient AC, you can do your part to help reduce harmful emissions that could put the planet at risk.
Choosing an Energy-Efficient AC
When shopping for a high-efficiency AC system, you need to balance your needs with your budget. If you aren’t in a position to make a big up-front investment, finding an efficient cooling solution for your home can be a challenge.
As we’ve explained, opting for the highest available SEER rating isn’t always the right choice. While these efficient AC systems will bring your energy bills right down, they cost a lot of money to buy. Most importantly, it’s unlikely that they’ll see enough use to be worth the investment for a Canadian home.
But choosing an average SEER rating, while more affordable in the short term, could end up costing you more over time. Your energy bills will be higher, particularly as fuel costs continue to rise. Even worse, buying a system with a lower SEER rating means you’re less likely to qualify for a rebate.
Ultimately, the best thing you can do is research. Compare the best AC options available before you commit to buying anything, and consider your long-term needs as well as your short-term spending.
If you compare system and installation costs before you buy, you’ll be able to cool your home with confidence every summer for years to come.
Make the Most of Every Dollar
Air conditioning can be a big upfront expense, but in the long term, it doesn’t have to break the bank. If you pay attention to AC efficiency, a smart initial investment can represent major savings over your AC system’s lifespan.
At FurnacePrices.ca, we believe in empowering you to make the right choices when it comes to cooling your home. We’ll provide you with multiple free quotes from accredited local contractors, so you can choose the AC system that’s best for you and your home.
Compare quotes today, and our Certified local HVAC partners will get back to you with a range of options to suit your home and your budget.
Save on your energy bills with a new AC this summer – you won’t regret it.