An air conditioner that uses less power to cool the space is more efficient than a system that uses more power to achieve the same result. The energy efficiency is the ratio of the cooling capacity (in British thermal units, or “Btu” per hour) to the power input (in watts). This energy efficiency ratio is referred to as an “EER”, or “SEER” (seasonal energy efficiency ratio). The higher the system’s SEER rating is, the more efficient the air conditioner is.
What Factors Make an Air Conditioner Energy-Efficient?
So just what goes into making an air conditioner “energy efficient?” Here are a few of the factors:
Over just the last 20 years, significant advancements in air conditioning technology have improved performance and energy efficiency. It includes refinements in the shape of the fan blades, compressor machinery, and a new kind of refrigerant. This new refrigerant, referred to as R410A, doesn’t have chlorine that is bad for the ozone layer.
Another improvement over older systems is a two-stage compressor, which works at full power only on the hottest days. At other times, it operates less while the air handler operates longer. The result is improved dehumidification, making your home feel comfortable with a lot less energy usage. As a result of these technological improvements, you can cool down the same size house with 250% less energy use than what it took 20 years ago.
Not to be overlooked is the smart technology that is available with many new systems. Programmable thermostats can give you even more operating efficiency. Your system will run at the times you need it. You can cool only the rooms you use and not the rooms you never use. A smart system can optimize energy efficiency even more by learning your patterns and programming itself so you don’t have to.
Correct Size Unit for the Space
To realize the optimal balance of cooling comfort and energy use, you need to have a properly sized system. Your goal is achieving the proper balance between the condenser, where the refrigerant is pressurized and cooled, and the evaporator, where indoor air is cooled and dehumidified before being circulated through the ductwork by the air handler.
It takes a professional HVAC expert to evaluate the right size system for your home. The technician will use a complex formula that measures such factors as your home’s layout, insulation, air leakage, sun exposure, climate, and other unique features of your home that will affect the size unit you need. However, you can ballpark it yourself with a general rule of thumb: one “ton” of air-conditioning cools 1,000 square feet of well-insulated space. “Ton” is the nomenclature for the size condenser you need – condensers are sized by the refrigeration ton. A ton is the amount of refrigeration needed to freeze one ton of water in 24 hours — 12,000 Btus per hour.
Finding the size and system that is “just right” for your system is worth your. Using a goldilocks reference can save you money and time in the long run. If you get one that is too small, you are likely to overwork it, causing the condenser to frost over and literally freeze the system for a period of time. Many people err on the side of too large of a system. The problem with an oversized system is it cools the space so quickly that the thermostat shuts off the air handler before it has a chance to fully circulate and dehumidify the inside air. The result is your house is cool but not comfortable because there is too much humidity in the air.
Replace Your Entire System at the Same Time
An important fact is that condensers last only about 15 years. When you decide to replace any major components, others such as the evaporator should be replaced at the same time. Otherwise, you run the risk of ruining all of the components, new and old.
Proper installation is another important element to energy efficiency not to be overlooked. A qualified HVAC technician can make sure the installation has been done professionally and will likely guarantee the labor and equipment for some period of time.
Benefits of an Energy-Efficient Air Conditioning System
A new energy-efficient air conditioner can help save you money on your air conditioning in the short run and over the longer term. Here is how:
- It uses a lot less energy to cool your home, saving you money on your utility bills. The higher the SEER of your unit, the lower your bills will be.
- It works smarter, not harder. As a result of its improved efficiency, it can have a longer life span.
- It may pay for itself when you sell your home. A new, energy-efficient air conditioning system makes your home attractive to many buyers.
- It is a lot less likely to break down during the hottest part of the summer.
- It requires less routine maintenance. All HVAC systems should have regular, seasonal maintenance involving cleaning, inspection, and minor repairs. However, a new energy-efficient air conditioner needs fewer repairs than older systems.
- It has programmable features that save you money on operations, provide you with the most comfort when you most need it, and reduce the wear and tear on your components.
- It is more environmentally friendly. These new systems produce fewer greenhouse gases and create less pollution.
- It operates quietly. The new systems run with much less noise than older system.
- It comes with warranties; some can run as long as 10 years.
Speak with Presidential Heating and Air for more information
Finding the best energy-efficient air conditioning system for your home and lifestyle can be daunting. A new system is expensive, so you want to be sure you get the one that is right for you. Get help from the experts at Presidential Heating and Air. They are happy to talk to you about all of the benefits of an energy-efficient air conditioner and answer your questions. Their professional technicians have years of experience with installation.