Should You Upgrade To Energy Efficient Air Conditioning

I often am asked if it is even worth upgrading to energy efficient air conditioners or not. if you current air conditioner is about ten years old or older then yes because today’s energy efficient can save you upwards of 20% to 40% of your cooling energy costs which is a sizable amount. When choosing a new air conditioner look always for a model with a high efficiency. Central air will also have another rating to pay attention to which is the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). Older models had seer ratings of about 6 but today’s norm is around 13, though for the best savings on energy you should look for models with a seer of higher than 13. To better understand what seer is I can say this, if you put 1 watt of energy into an air conditioner and it produces an average of 15 BTU’s of cooling, then it’s SEER rating is 15.


Central air system generally have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years
. While your older model may still function and have plenty of years left to it, you should add up the savings of a new unit and weight it against the years left on your unit and the savings a new unit will provide.

It is no secret that air conditioning runs up our electric bills during summer, and for some locations such as most of Texas and Arizona your AC can be running 9 months of the year or longer. Older model air conditioners are extreme energy hogs. The government started requiring AC makers to produce more efficient models and today a SEER 16 model can provide you with a 70% energy savings when compared to a seer 6 model. That is just for a seer 16 model as today’s more efficient air conditioning systems have SEER ratings as high as 23 which provide insane energy reduction! If you had a seer 10 model and upgraded to a seer 13 model your savings per year would be around $260 per year with just an increase in 3 seer ratings.

Your best air conditioners will carry the Energy Star® label.
To qualify for this label the unit must be in the top 25 percent of efficient models and these will carry at least a seer of 14 to qualify. I should point out however that the seer rating only is the potential under ideal operating conditions and other factors can effect the actual energy savings provided by any model with any seer rating. There is always a catch but for the most part the rating system is pretty accurate.

The installation can effect how effective your new air conditioner is. Picking the right size for your home is also a big factor. Picking the right sized until that operates with in the varying conditions of your homes area will help to ensure you the energy savings that were advertised. When in doubt consult a professional air conditioning installation company as they have the knowledge, expertise and experience needed to help you select the most ideal energy efficient model for your home while taking into account all relevant factors.

Are Big Changes On The Horizon For The Credit Card Industry

We are almost half way through 2015. Already there have been exciting happenings in the credit card industry, such as the launch of Apple Pay, credit cards stored on phones and mobile devices as well as some scary incidents such as the Target security breach. There are a few predictions on other changes we can expect to see either this year or in 2016 as far as credit cards are concerned.

Greater Credit Card Security

After all of the security breaches over the last 3 years, with last year hitting a peak the banking and credit card industries both have security at the top of their agendas. Security breaches are not just a concern for customers but also for banks and credit card issuers, the only people who profit from these breaches are the criminals and hackers. This October merchants will be required to upgrade their terminals to accept EMV chip credit and debit cards for example or the liability for any fraud will rest on the merchants hands. You can also expect higher monitoring of your credit card usage by the credit card companies themselves so they can identify fraudulent purchases on the spot. I fully expect to see new security measures take place within the credit card industry going forward into 2016 and beyond.

More Credit Card Competition:
These days credit cards offer very rich rewards programs, which has been good for both the credit card companies and the consumer. Yet these rich rewards programs have opened up something that the credit card companies themselves did not see coming, stiff competition for customers. The way rewards programs work is the more you use the card the more rewards you receive. Once upon a time it was common for consumers to use 3 or more credit cards, but these days many people are favoring one or two credit cards and forgoing using any others. This has led to credit card companies offering ever increasing rewards to their customer base. Rewards programs are going to get better going into 2016 and you will see some very good sign up bonuses this year as credit card companies scramble to get a higher share of the overall credit card customer base.

Expanded Credit Card Availability:
During the most recent recession credit card companies tightened up the minimum credit standards to be able to receive a credit card. Banks also in turn tightened up credit standards to be qualified to receive a loan. Lately however credit card companies and banks both have loosened up these tight credit standards, willing to take more risks to gain a greater share of the market. This means many more customers whose credit scores are below prime will find access to credit cards and loans easier. I fully expect the this to increase over the next 18 months well into 2016 and beyond as the economy recovers. For the first time since the recession started delinquency rates have been steadily falling, leading banks and credit card companies to expend their given risk pools to accept new customers with less than perfect credit.

Increases In Zero Percent Interest Balance Transfer Offers:
Much like how credit card companies are now taking people with less than perfect credit and also offering bigger and better reward programs, credit card companies are once again rolling out attractive balance transfer offers. At the start of the recession credit card companies started to withdraw offering balance transfers to all but those with perfect or very high credit scores. This move was made to protect the credit card companies from potential loss and delinquencies. Today there are many more of these offers around than at the mid point of the recession. You can however expect to see shorter lengths on the zero percent interest offers, in the past it was common to see 18 month to 24 months at zero percent interest, but these days it is more common to see 12 to 17 months instead. Those with perfect credit can still find 18 to 24 month offers on occasion however.

Benefits Are Plenty If You Qualify For A VA Home Loan

While veterans day is a long time away from now, last year marked the 70th anniversary of the G.I. Bill. If you are a veteran in the market for a new home I want to remind you about the awesome benefits of a VA mortgage. Veterans Administration loans carry several key advantages that you would be hard pressed to find elsewhere. We reached out to John Vergos, with Installment Loans Hub to get some insight into how these loans work in conjunction with other home loans, personal loans and consumer lending products. Some of the key advantages are as follows:


Lower interest rates:
You will on average pay .60 % lower interest than the national average for someone with the same credit score as you. While this may not seem like a huge amount, over the course of a 30 year fixed loan this could save you thousands of dollars over time. It will also result in a lower monthly payment freeing up precious cash flow that you could divert elsewhere.

Down Payment:
Did you know that VA loans do not require any down payment? As long as the loan amount does not exceed the homes appraised value. I know of some who got a deal on the purchase price but had the mortgage amount higher yet lower than the appraised value and walked away with an extra $5000 to $10,000 that they then used to upgrade their new home.You can even obtain a loan with no money down, provided that the loan amount does not exceed $417,000 (for 2014).

Home Owners Insurance:

You do not need private mortgage insurance on loans of more than 80% of a homes appraised value. This can save the average veteran between $100 and $120 per month.

Closing costs:
Your closing costs will often be lower with a VA loan. The reason being is the government limits these costs when the loan is a VA loan. Any VA backed loan has very strict limits in place for closing costs. For those new to real estate transactions closing costs can be quite high so this perk is well worth having.

Credit scores:
You are not pigeon holed into a minimum credit score with a VA loan. If you had thought your average or below average credit would be a barrier to home ownership this is not the case if you opt to go for a VA backed loan.

Early Loan Payoff:

Many loans may have penalties associated with paying off your loan early. This is not the case when it comes to a VA backed loan. If you decide you want to pay off your mortgage ahead of schedule you can do so when you have a VA loan.


You can also refinance your home through the VA at nearly any point, receiving a loan based on the equity you already have in your home. This money can be used for any purpose though most use it for repairs or expansion. The rates that can be had through a VA refinance are quite attractive.

The only real downside to a VA loan is well your dealing with the government. There is red tape involved and this red tape can extend the process of obtaining your loan by several weeks. I should however point out that despite having to wait a few extra weeks the loans benefits make this wait well worth the wait. Indeed you would be hard pressed to find a better loan elsewhere. In fact the VA has served over 21 million loans to date, which speaks volumes on how popular VA home loans are.

The VA does not make the loans to you directly. Instead the VA will partially guarantee your mortgage or refinancing through private lenders. This allows lenders to offer you better terms than the standard terms you would find elsewhere. VA backed loans are only allowed for your primary residence, investment or vacation properties are not elgiable for a VA backed loan.