How Does Air Conditioning Efficiency Affect You?

When summer temperatures start to climb, your air conditioner rapidly becomes more than just a luxury. You need your system to work every day in order to keep your home cool and comfortable, and with that comes an accompanying rise in your monthly cooling costs. That’s one of the reasons why air conditioning efficiency is so important. It ensures that you don’t pay any more than you need to for a comfortable household. The more you understand about how efficiency affects you and your household, the better you can make use of your air conditioning system.


The basis for air conditioning efficiency can be found in the SEER rating, which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It’s derived by comparing the cooling output of the system during a certain period of time with the energy the system consumes in the same amount of time. The higher the rating, the more effectively the system makes use of the energy it consumes.

Note that this differs from the overall power output of the air conditioner. An underpowered air conditioner may have a higher SEER rating than one with a higher power output. But if that smaller unit isn’t powerful enough to cool your entire home, that added efficiency will be lost as it runs and runs and runs. That’s why you must select the proper power levels for your system before you determine the highest SEER rating you can afford. Otherwise you’re putting the cart before the horse.


The SEER rating simply measures the overall efficiency of the system as compared to other air conditioners. You can also take additional steps to improve the system’s effectiveness, both with professional attention and small steps you can take yourself.

In all likelihood, you’re already practicing some small steps that help cut into your monthly bill, such as dressing in lightweight clothes and setting the thermostat to 78 degrees instead of 75 degrees. You can also turn the system off at night and open up the windows: using a fan to cool the home instead of the AC. And if you run your air conditioner during the day when there are no people at home, consider programming your thermostat to turn on 20 minutes before you arrive home: cooling the home when you arrive without easting so much energy.

Other steps require a professional’s attention, but can help save even more money by ensuring maximum efficiency. For instance, we recommend scheduling maintenance once a year in order to adjust the little things like loose bolts and clogged filters that reduce the air conditioner’s efficiency. You might also consider adding an upgrade to your system, such as a new smart thermostat that makes little adjustments based on your cooling habits, or zone control systems that let you run the air in some parts of the home without running it in rooms or sections that are unoccupied.

For quality air conditioning upgrades, repairs and maintenance throughout the Portland, OR area, call on the friendly team at Western Heating & Cooling today!