Stay Comfy Blog

How Does a High Efficiency Air Conditioner Work?

Improvements in Technology to Accommodate Your Pocketbook

High efficiency seems to be showing up in all different spaces - when choosing a laundry detergent, processes in the workplace, even speakers; who knew? But when it comes to knowing and understanding your HVAC system, how does a high efficiency air conditioner work? We’ve talked with Minnesota Air’s very own Keith Hill to discover what makes your air conditioner efficient and how it saves you money.


The term “high efficiency” has changed over the years. What it meant twenty, ten, even three years ago is different than what it means today. Since the tools we use to maintain our lifestyles have changed due to our demand and use, so has the technology. Different government mandates and utility rebates have also played a part in creating what are now high efficiency machines. Currently, the Department of Energy regulations require that the minimum efficiency of an air conditioner is 13 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). A high efficiency unit is usually anything around 14, 16 or even as high as 21 SEER. So what does that mean? Since you buy watts from the power company, the amount of money you save once calculated is simple.

To Put It Simply…

A 16 SEER (30,000 BTU) high efficiency air conditioner will use 1875 watts of energy per hour.

A 13 SEER air conditioner of the same size will use close to 2308 watts of energy per hour.

All together, there is a 28% savings on your energy bill!

What Makes It Efficient?

High efficiency in air conditioners mostly come from the use of high efficiency motors and the heat exchange surface area. Many of the new high efficiency units today are large – both the indoor and outdoor components. This increased surface area makes it easier to capture more heat and to transfer it outside, thus increasing its efficiency and increasing the amount of money you save every month.

The Essential Guide to AC

Minnesota furnace repair

For home maintenance and comfort tips, visit! Stay Comfy, Minnesota is your Minnesota resource for air conditioning repair, furnace repair and HVAC tips and advice.

Find a Stay Comfy Minnesota Dealer Near You

Learn More