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Air Conditioners Become Energy Efficient
By Raymond Burton

Did you know that one sixth of all the electricity generated in the United States is used to air condition buildings? With that thought in mind the U.S. Department of Energy is raising the minimum energy efficiency rating for air conditioners as of January 23 2006. Whether it is to reduce consumers' energy bills or reduce pollution, higher energy efficiency ratings on air conditioners can only be beneficial to everyone involved.

So how do you know the efficiency of your air conditioner? Once way is through an energy efficiency ratio measurement called the SEER. This SEER is used to rate all air conditioners on their efficient use of energy in order to set a standard of environmentally friendly machines. The term SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. Generally the higher the number of SEER the air conditioner is given, the more energy efficient it is.

As environmental concerns continually grow the SEER on air conditioners has changed. In 1992 the SEER minimum standard for air conditioners was 10 and by 2006 it was rumored that it would be changed to a minimum of 13 and voila, that will be the new standard when this new law is passed in January. A change from a 10 rating to a 13 rating in SEER roughly translates into a 30 percent improvement in efficiency of that particular air conditioner.

The only downside to a higher SEER or energy efficient air conditioning unit would be the increased purchase and installation cost. Most people don't mind however because the train of thought is that an increase in front end cost will more than be surpassed by increased savings in energy bills over the long haul.

Now if you thought the fact that one sixth of the electricity generated in the United States is used for air conditioning was cool, this is even better. The Department of Energy estimates that by 2030, the changes in energy and SEER laws will save enough electricity to power 26 million homes for a whole year.

What else can you do to save energy besides buying a better air conditioner? The biggest thing is proper maintenance of your cooling unit. Regular checks for proper function and changing the air conditioner filter when required will help the unit run at optimum efficiency. The last thing and it may already be too late, is to make sure your air conditioner is installed properly by a qualified technician.

The enviroment is our greatest asset. Ray Burton writes information about home appliances such as air conditioners and furnaces and ways to cut cost and energy usage.