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SEER SMERE what are you talking about?

If you are in the market for a new home you have probably heard the builders talk about SEER rating (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio).  Some builders currently use 13 SEER HAVC units, Some builders that follow Energy Star guidelines use 14 SEER units and some custom builders offer systems as high as 18 SEER or even 23 SEER Systems.  So how much savings are we talking about?  Is it worth spending $3,000 to get an HVAC unit with a 16 SEER instead of a 14 SEER.  The formula for calculating the improvement in efficiency is 1-(SEER Rating for System A / SEER Rating for System B).  In other words with the Higher SEER unit you will save 12.5% of the electricity used by your HVAC unit using a 16 SEER instead of a 14 SEER.  To put it another way, let’s say your typical electric bill is $300 per month.  After deducting Lights, Electronics, Washer, Dryer plus the Hot Water Heater you spend $200 per month heating and cooling your home.  With an HVAC system that is a 16 instead of a 14, your savings would be $25.00 per month or $300 per year.  If the cost difference is $3000 and you need to include the additional cost in your mortgage the payback is almost 14 years.  Now consider the expected life of the unit (12 to 15 years) and it doesn’t make sense economically.

However, when you compare an existing home to a new home the math works out quite differently.  If we use the same assumptions as in our earlier example and compare a home with a 10 SEER HVAC system to a new one with a 14 SEER system.  The portion of the electric bill for the existing home is $257 as compared to the new home at $200 per month.  You will be spending an additional $684 per year in utility bills for the HVAC system efficiency alone.  Now look at how old the system is. Next consider how energy efficient the building envelope is.  Does is have Double pane glazing in the windows, R-30 Attic insulation, sealed top plates at every wire and plumbing penetration?  If not you will need to figure that into your equation as well.

At Maronda Homes we continue to make our homes more and more energy efficient.  Why, because our customers know the value of a dollar.  After all that’s why most of them purchased from us in the first place, besides nobody likes paying high utility bills.

About Tom Greenawalt

Tom is a Licensed Builder in the State of Florida. He has been in the construction industry for 35 years building new homes in Pittsburgh, Washington DC, and Chicago before moving to Central Florida. The majority of Tom's career has on detached housing for entry level and first time move up buyers. He was with Maronda Homes for over 15 years.

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