How Geography Affects Your AC

how your geography affects your AC" superimposed over a picture of a sunset with clouds and palm trees

Air conditioners are a common home feature in today’s modern world. So common, in fact, that 87 percent of homes utilized air conditioning as of 2009, up from 68 percent since 1993 alone. Although they are common, air conditioner styles and the way in which equipment is used varies widely from region to region.

Where am I? Common types of AC by area...

In areas where cooling is only necessary a few times a year, window or wall units predominate, however in hotter, more humid climates, central AC is more common due to is ability to more effectively and efficiently cool homes.

  • South, Midwest & West:
    Central air conditioning prevails by far over window units.
  • North
    Room air conditioners are more common, though not by a huge percentage, with approximately 54 percent of homes using wall units and 44 percent using central AC.

Is it hot in here? How usage is affected by region…

Though southern homeowners are almost twice as likely to utilize AC than all other regions, they are least likely to use a programmable thermostat to operate it. Western and northern regions, however, are most likely to use programmable thermostats, reaping the benefits of reduced overall cooling costs thanks to the automatic and routine cycling down of the unit when more intensive cooling is not needed.

Is your home a senior citizen? Your neighborhood’s age also drives variation…

While about 91 percent of homes built since 2000 include central AC that utilizes ductwork, for homes built before 1940 that number drops to 50 percent. Unlike newly constructed neighborhoods where the addition of central AC is easier and costs financed into the mortgage, retrofitting older homes typically require out of pocket investments for the addition of ventilation systems and ductwork – and the construction needs necessary to work them into the structure.

Is your AC a dinosaur? New HVAC efficiency standards vary based on your region…

Due to the role your geographic region plays in your air conditioning needs, and subsequently energy usage, in April 2014 the U.S. Department of Energy upgraded AC efficiency standards for residential and commercial equipment. Depending on your region, new Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) standards for new AC purchases and upgrades will vary by region, and include:


(ME, VT, NH, MA, RI, CT, MY, MJ, DE, MD, PA, WV, OH, IN, MI, IL, WI, MN, IA, MO, ND, SD, NE, KS, CO, WY, MT, ID, UT, OR, WA)

  • AC split systems: 13 SEER
  • AC packaged units: 14 SEER, 8.2 HSPF
  • Heat pump split systems: 14 SEER, 8.2 HSPF
  • Heat pump packaged units: 14 SEER, 8.0 HSPF


(FL, GA, AL, MS, LA, TX, OK, TN, NC, SC, KY, VA)

  • AC: 14 SEER
  • Heat pump: 14 SEER, 8.0 SHPF


(CA, AZ, NV, NM)

  • AC: 14 SEER, 11 EER
  • Heat pump: 14 SEER, 8.0 SHPF

Are you true to your region? If your air conditioner isn’t meeting your regional AC needs, contact Aire Serv® today.