We are looking at Bryant systems. According to the tech who came out, the space where our old unit is located is too small to contain the equipment that would bring us up to the 16 SEER, 13 EER rating allowing us to receive a tax credit. (We live in a curious house and changing this location is prohibitively expensive.) He did however tell us we could still get a 16.5 SEER unit that would save us a lot more on energy costs than going with a 13 seer unit.
We're on a tight budget and would totally go with the 16.5 SEER route if the tax credit were in play. Since there's no credit for us, however, we really need to weigh the options carefully before we spend the extra $$.
My question is twofold . . .
Is the 16.5 SEER unit even going to operate at a 16.5 level without whatever is required for the 13 EER rating? Would it be like purchasing a car that can go 100 miles an hour, but never going faster than 55? (The 16.5 unit he's quoting is 2-speed with Thermidisat, the 13 unit is single with Honeywell 6000.)
How does the difference in efficiency between a 13 SEER and 16 SEER unit translate to utility bills considering that the 16.5 SEER unit won't be 13 EER?
Thanks so much!