About "Ask the Energy Expert"
Tiffany Spence is an energy expert at Florida Power & Light Company. She’s conducted thousands of energy audits at homes and businesses, helping customers find new ways to make their bills even lower.
Your questions on energy-related topics can be submitted anytime to our Ask the Energy Expert blog. Just click here to submit your question, and if chosen, it will be answered here
Asked on: June 1, 2017 by Victor V., Sebastian
At approximately what age is a central A/C unit less effective? Mine is 12 years old and works well; however, I am concerned about its efficiency.
Thanks for asking this question. Air conditioning (A/C) is a necessity when you live in Florida, especially this time of year as temperatures are on the rise.
Did you know the average A/C unit lasts about 15 years in Florida? Over time your A/C will lose efficiency, however yearly service and maintenance can help extend its life. If your current air conditioning system is more than 10 years old, has needed frequent repairs, or if you have noticed that it is running longer to keep your home comfortable, it may be time to consider buying a new one.
Purchasing a new A/C is a big (and expensive) decision. But if you are thinking about replacing your A/C before it stops working, you may be eligible to take advantage of our $150 rebate towards the purchase of a new qualifying unit. A new energy efficient cooling system could save you money on your energy bill. For example, depending on the size of your unit, if you replace a 10 SEER three-ton A/C unit with a 16 SEER system, you could save around $377 annually1.
You may qualify for a $150 rebate:
If you purchase a 16.00 - 17.99 SEER, straight cool/air cool A/C unit in a single-family detached home from a Participating Independent Contractor (PIC) you may qualify for a $150 rebate from us. These contractors can also help you find the right unit for your home and ensure you’re eligible for rebates. And, who doesn’t want to save some money? The rebate can help you save money now, and the new system will help you save money on your energy bills in the future. Visit our Residential Air Conditioning program page to learn how to qualify.
More ways to save:
If replacing your A/C is not in the budget for this year, we have gathered a list of tips that can help you maintain your unit and keep you cool this summer:
- Remove debris - On the exterior condenser/compressor, clean leaves and other debris. Cut back branches and vegetation at least two feet in all directions to ensure proper airflow around the unit.
- Air filters - Check your filter regularly for excess buildup of dirt, dust and pet hair. How often you change the filter depends on the type of filter you have, how often you run your A/C and the number of pets in your home.
- Keep your coils clean - Dirty coils force compressors to run longer and work harder than required, increasing energy usage and utility costs while decreasing the life of your unit.
- Clean evaporator drain - Make sure the drain flows freely and there is no blockage. Clean the drain pan with soap and hot water.
- Air conditioner tune-up – Consider having your unit tuned up by an A/C contractor to ensure your system is working properly.
- Inspect for duct leaks- Look for rapid dust buildup around vents in your home and remove dirt and buildup. If the ducting system is leaking air, it can cause significant energy losses, causing energy bills to increase while affecting air quality and comfort. If you suspect your duct system may have leaks, you should contact an A/C contractor to check your duct system.
Another saving tip: We also recommend setting your A/C to 78 degrees with the fan on “auto” to help you save. When you leave your home, consider raising the temperature to 82 degrees to save even more.
We are always here to help you find ways to save energy and money. To see more A/C tips, visit our Guide to Heating and Cooling. You may also want to take our Online Home Energy Survey to get a personalized savings plan with energy-saving tips and recommendations, including programs and rebates that may be able to help you save even more money.
1 Costs above are estimates based on South Florida area average of 2,800 annual A/C cooling operating hours and current rate of 10 cents per kWh.
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