The average lifespan for an AC system is 8 to 12 years with proper maintenance. Like a car, most air conditioning systems can continue to be repaired almost indefinitely. But at some point, repairs become too frequent to remain cost-effective, especially as newer and better AC units become more affordable and efficient. Today’s systems are as much as 60 percent more efficient than those manufactured just 10 years ago. The savings in efficiency alone frequently justifies their replacement as they age.

A digital thermostat allows the operator to program automatic changes in thermostat settings throughout the day to coincide with schedules of occupation in the home or office.

Not necessarily. An air conditioner that is too large for the area that it is meant to cool runs more often for shorter lengths of time, which is less effective at removing humidity. Longer run times allow the system to maintain a more constant room temperature. A system that is too large facilitates the growth of mold and mildew, airborne contaminants and often increases power consumption.

According to EPA, indoor air pollution can be as much as 100 times higher than outdoors.

Check your filter at least monthly and clean and replace as needed. A dirty air filter limits air flow, which can cause the compressor to run longer, cause the heat exchanger to overheat and increase utility bills significantly.


SEER is an acronym for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and is a measure of the performance of the system, not unlike the MPG of an automobile. The higher the SEER, the better the efficiency. The more efficient the system, however, the higher the cost to purchase, but the faster the system pays for itself in savings on your power bill.

H.S.P.F. stands for Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, and is a measure of a heat pump’s heating performance, not unlike the MPG of an automobile.

Modern systems are usually equipped with surge protection. In the event of lighting, however, it’s never a bad idea to turn off your air conditioner and unplug appliances.

Cost Related

Many cooling and heating factors will alter the percentage of power used by your air conditioning system relative to other electric appliances in your home. However, on average, about 44 percent is typical.

  • Use ceiling fans when you occupy the room in which they’re located.
  • Move lamps, televisions and other warm appliances away from your thermostat.
  • Plant trees and shrubs to shade the outside unit, but do not obstruct airflow. Shaded air conditioning units cool more effectively and consume as much as 10 percent less electricity.

  • Have your air vents balanced by an air conditioning professional.
  • Set the thermostat on as high a temperature as possible when cooling while still remaining comfortable, and don’t constantly adjust it. Constant adjustment can eat up a lot of electricity.
  • Invest in a programmable digital thermostat that will raise and lower temperatures automatically when you’re home and away.
  • Don’t set your thermostat any lower than the desired temperature when you turn on your air conditioner. Cranking down the thermostat will not cool your home any faster and wastes energy.
  • Check your air filter regularly—at least monthly—and clean or replace as needed. A dirty air filter is the No. 1 cause of inefficient operation and high power consumption.
  • Clear debris and plants from the outdoor fan to allow sufficient airflow and maximize efficiency.

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