The recent advances in A/C technology have been made to lower electric consumption and increase comfort. The higher minimum energy efficiency standards, known as the SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) rating that went into effect in 2006 means that homeowners who update their equipment use less power to cool their homes. The minimum SEER stands at 13, an increase from the previous SEER rating of 10. The three-point difference means that a 13 SEER system uses 30 percent electricity to provide the same amount of cooling. Although an air conditioner is an investment, upgrading it to a 13 SEER or higher will decrease energy consumption without sacrificing comfort. Homeowners can save up to 10 percent for each single increase in the SEER. Air conditioners are available that have SEER ratings that go well into the 20s. Components that increase efficiency and comfort, especially for our climate, include:
- Electronically commutated motors (ECMs) in the air handler. An ECM is a significant improvement over the standard permanent split capacitor motor (PCM). ECMs use a fraction of the electricity that a PCM does, tend to last longer, are quieter and run more slowly. The slower running speed means your air conditioner removes more humidity.
- Dual-speed compressors. This is one of the most impressive advances in A/C technology that saves energy. The compressor only runs at top speed when temperatures are at their highest. During cooler times, the compressor runs at a slower speed, saving energy.
These features don’t increase the SEER rating directly, but will shave energy bills indirectly:
- Filter check light. A dirty air filter drives up energy bills and the wear and tear on your A/C quickly. This light goes on when it’s time to change the filter, a reminder that saves your equipment and electric bill.
- Fan-only switch. This feature lets you run the fan inside the air handler when air movement alone would be enough to keep you comfortable.
If you’d like to learn more about the advances in A/C technology, contact Senica Air Conditioning, Inc.. We provide HVAC services for the Clearwater area.