Wall Mounted Mini Split Savings for Higher SEER Air Conditioners?

January 8, 2009 by Shawn Mack  
Filed under Featured, Savings Guide

“Does saving $30.00 a year justify the increase in price for higher SEER air conditioners?”

In January 2007, the federal government raised the minimum Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) for split system air conditioners from 10 SEER to 13 SEER. Any equipment manufactured after 2006 for sale in the United States must be at least 13 SEER. The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) is working on special certification grouping for ductless mini split systems, but until that happens ductless equipment has been thrown into the same group as central air conditioners.

Since the minimum SEER has been increased manufacturers are using more expensive components to reach higher efficiency. Thanks in large part to inverter compressors, ductless mini split equipment has become available in efficiency numbers surpassing 21 SEER. The increase in the component costs are passed directly to the customer and mini split systems have risen in price dramatically. Ductless mini splits have also increased in physical size to house the larger compressors. So how much money does an increased efficiency air conditioner save you?

I have broken down one example of the savings between a 13 SEER and 16 SEER mini split air conditioner.

Operating Hours: 1600 annually or approximately 4 hours a day
Operating Temperature: 75 degrees Fahrenheit
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating: Increasing from 13 SEER to 16 SEER
British Thermal Units (btu): 12,000 or 1 ton

Survey Says:

Yearly savings: $42.00

Seeing that most ductless split system air conditioners are used for cooling smaller additions and rooms, a 12,000 btu. system is the most popular size sold in the United States. $42.00 is nothing to shake a stick at, but that is at 1600 hours. What about all the other areas that use the ductless systems seasonally? Does saving $30.00 a year justify the increase in price for higher SEER air conditioners? Not to mention the fact that high- efficiency compressors run hundreds more for replacement.

Many consumers are paying an average of $500.00 more for a more efficient 16 SEER air conditioner instead of a 13 SEER unit. With the efficiency saving air conditioner it could take 15 years to break even.

Many consumers like the idea of monthly savings and reducing energy usage. My hat is off to you, but my wallet is staying put.

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One Response to “Wall Mounted Mini Split Savings for Higher SEER Air Conditioners?”
  1. Lewis Says:

    As energy costs increase (inevitable) the savings of a more efficient system will increase. As more people purchase efficient systems, the initial cost will go down significantly. It is better for the environment and energy security. Get a higher SEER rating AC unit, it makes sense on every level.

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