As we reach the end of the summer, a lot of people are thinking about how well their air conditioner did (or didn’t do) at keeping the heat at bay this year. When air conditioners get older, they often don’t perform as well. If you’re considering AC replacement because your old air conditioner just isn’t cutting it, or it requires expensive repairs, what new system will you get?
In Texas, we need air conditioners that are prepared to work hard through long summers. What AC system will be best? Here are some recommendations.
How Air Conditioners Work
Traditional central air conditioners have always operated very simply: they are either on or off. When the thermostat registers that the temperature in your home is too high, it sends a signal that starts up the compressor, which forces refrigerant to flow, absorbing heat from indoors and releasing it outside. When it gets cool enough, the compressor shuts down.
In climates with long stretches of high temperatures, that simply means that the air conditioner spends more of the time running, not being able to shut down as often or for as long. This puts a lot of strain on the system overall, and it can also strain your budget, as all that time running your AC uses a lot of electricity.
Recent Innovations in AC Technology
New air conditioners are using some pretty revolutionary new technology that makes a big difference in cutting their energy consumption. There are three main things that have changed.
- The Coils: New materials used to manufacture the coils—the tubing the refrigerant runs through—have better thermal conductivity. This means they absorb and release heat more easily, making it possible to cool your home with less energy.
- The Fan Motor: While blower fan motors of the past were either on or off, they are now made to function at variable speeds, running on less energy unless the cooling needs of your home are especially high.
- The Compressor: New multi-stage compressors can also vary the amount of energy they use, operating in a highly efficient mode most of the time, and automatically transitioning to a more powerful, less efficient mode only when it’s absolutely necessary.
Another thing that has changed in the AC industry is the way energy efficiency is rated. SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) has been updated to SEER2. This measures the same thing—the ratio between energy used and cooling produced by an AC unit—but systems are tested under more realistic conditions, making the ratings more accurate.
While a SEER2 rating of 14.3 is required for new air conditioners in our area, and this will be a major improvement over the inefficiency of a ten-year-old air conditioner you want to replace, there are even better options. AC units are being manufactured with SEER2 ratings in the twenties!
To get the greatest comfort while using the least amount of energy, when it’s time for air conditioning installation in Houston, TX, choose an air conditioner with a high SEER2 rating. If you’d like to explore your options, we’d love to hear from you.
Reach out to Cool Care Heating and Air Conditioning, The Best Care for Your Air.