Vintage is in. Old-school record players, furniture, cars and other reminders of yesterday are as popular as ever, blending style and functionality in a way that appeals to retro-savvy consumers. One place where you don’t want a blast from the past, however, is in your HVAC setup. Vintage air conditioning systems can cost you a fortune, burning up enormous amounts of energy compared to modern models. Read on to learn more about how old air conditioners can waste your money, as well as what to consider in an upgrade.

Banish High Energy Bills

Heating and air conditioning already account for the largest share of energy bills in the average home, so you aren’t doing yourself any favors by driving up the bill even more by using outdated equipment. You can wring a small amount of savings out of vintage air conditioning systems by cleaning and maintaining them properly, but if the unit is decades old, there’s really no substitute for upgrading to a brand-new model.

Air conditioners are rated via a system known as SEER, which measures their cooling output compared to the energy they consume. Higher numbers are better, and while many old models chugged along with ratings in the low to mid-single digits, you can currently find SEER ratings between 13 and 23. The difference can mean savings of over $100 per year, depending on your house, the climate and the specific models in question.

How to Find the Latest in Efficiency Technology

Once you decide it’s time to throw out your vintage air conditioning system, check out the federal Energy Star page for leads on what models are on the cutting edge of efficiency. Any new model you buy today will be vastly superior to what was on the market 20 years ago, but Energy Star certifies units that are at least 15 percent more efficient than conventional models. If you are upgrading to save money, you might as well go all out.

There are also new technologies around that can go even further to keep your bills in check. Check out ductless or split air conditioners, which use heat pump technology to eliminate the energy loss potential from leaky ducts and allow you to use zone cooling to expend energy only on the rooms that are occupied.

Getting with the Times

You aren’t living in the 1990s anymore, so there’s no reason to be using an air conditioner from that era or earlier. For help upgrading your vintage air conditioning system and installing a more modern, efficient model, call your local HVAC technician today.