Keep cool, save money

Did you know that you can save up to 36 percent on your annual cooling costs when you choose a high-quality, central air conditioning (AC) installation? These days, that’s important.

Lower costs with efficient equipment

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems can account for up to 44 percent of a typical home energy bill. Nearly half of all HVAC systems in U.S. homes could be more cost- and energy-efficient. The chart shows where energy loss often happens.



Why typical AC installations lose energy*


  • Wrong amount of refrigerant, 4 percent
  • Incorrect air-flow rate, 3 percent
  • Wrong size equipment, 5 percent
  • Leaky ducts, 15 percent
  • Cooling and heating delivered, 73 percent


*This chart is from ENERGY STAR®. Percentages are based on national averages.

Whether you're installing new central AC equipment or replacing existing heating and cooling equipment, a quality installation of high-efficiency equipment can lower your energy bills, increase comfort in your home, and extend the useful life of your equipment. Energy-efficient central AC equipment will be:

  • Correctly sized to meet your home's needs
    Installing the right size equipment for your home is essential to getting the best performance. Often, homeowners think bigger is better when buying new equipment, but in reality, a system that’s too large will make your home less comfortable and shorten the equipment’s life with frequent “on/off” cycling. Your contractor will ensure you get the right size system by measuring your home and calculating the appropriate size.
  • Connected to a well-sealed duct system
    Ducts circulate air from the central AC or heat pump throughout the house. Ducts that are damaged or poorly connected leak hot or cold air and waste energy. Your contractor will measure your home’s duct system leakage and will seal or repair the ducts to improve your home’s energy efficiency.
  • Operating with sufficient air flow in the system
    The air flow in your heating and cooling system needs to have the right volume to operate efficiently. If air flow is too high or too low, it can make your home less comfortable and increase your utility bills. Your contractor will measure air flow and make needed adjustments for optimal performance.
  • Installed with the right amount of refrigerant
    It’s important for an air conditioner or heat pump to have the correct amount of refrigerant, called the “refrigerant charge.” An improperly charged system may consume more energy and result in higher humidity. Contractors should test your home’s refrigerant charge and adjust it as needed. This will make your home more comfortable and help you avoid wasting money on your utility bills.

Contractors are licensed by the state. Contractors who work without a license may not be qualified and may be violating the law. Licensed contractors must:

  • Pass exams on the law and their trade
  • Purchase a bond to insure you against certain damages related to their work
  • Pass a background check

A licensed contractor can install your AC system according to applicable local and state building codes.

Get several contractor bids

Proposals from multiple contractors allow you to choose one that meets your needs and budget.

After you select a contractor, choose the right, energy-efficient AC equipment. This table can help you and your contractor decide which system is best for your home.

Energy-efficient central AC equipment ratings*





14.5 Split
14 Package

12 Split
11 Package


Required in CA

CEE Tier 2

15 Split
14 or higher Package

12.5 Split
12 or higher Package


Required in CA

CEE Tier 3

16 or higher Split

13 or higher Split


Required in CA


EER - 3.0
COP - 4.0


Required in CA

Compliance with State Building Efficiency Standards

*Information in this table is from the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE), April 2012.

For energy-efficient central heat pump ratings, please see the CEE's tableOpens in new Window..

SEER: Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio
EER: Energy Efficiency Ratio
TXV: Thermostatic Expansion Valve
COP: Coefficient of Performance

Your city or county may require building permits for installing or modifying AC systems. A local building inspector may check your installation to make sure that:

  • Your system meets state, county and city codes
  • The work was done properly
  • Required compliance documents have been submitted