This is a good year to replace your home air conditioner. There have been some big changes and a step up in efficiency, sound levels and comfort. As the worldwide cut off dates for outlawing HCFC’s gets closer, the demand for new air conditioners will go up. You may want to avoid the rush.
If your home is in the USA, you may qualify for a tax credit when you upgrade your air conditioner in 2007. This tax credit program ends December 31, 2007
When shopping for a new air conditioner pick the highest SEER, you can afford.
What is SEER?
Seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) is a measure of cooling efficiency for air conditioning products. The higher the SEER rating number, the more energy efficient the unit is.
Ten years ago, the typical SEER was in the 8 to 10 range. In 2006, the US government set a minimum SEER of 13 for all new air conditioners. Now they range from 13 to just over 20. As with most things, you get what you pay for.
If your existing air conditioner is more than 10 years old, installing a new one could cut your cooling electric bills in half. Depending on your climate, it can provide a quick payback.
As a minimum, choose an Energy Star qualified unit to buy.
ENERGY STAR qualified air conditioners have a higher SEER than standard models. These products can be more expensive to purchase. The cost difference will be paid back over time through lower energy bills.
Concerns about the hole in the ozone layer have caused changes in air conditioners. Many air conditioning systems use a HCFC (hydro chlorofluorocarbon) refrigerant. HCFC’s are known to cause of depletion of the ozone layer. There are currently limits on the amount of HCFC that may be produced. Its use will be outlawed in most countries by the year 2010.
If you have an air conditioner that uses Freon, R-22 or other HCFC, you will not be able to keep it full of refrigerant with in a few years forcing you to replace it.
The newer high-efficiency air conditioners also provide the best comfort particularly during the milder weather of early and late summer. This is when you often sense that clammy feeling. The indoor air gets cool enough, but the air conditioner has not run long enough to also adequately dehumidify the air.
Using a two-stage compressor and a variable speed condenser fan, these models fine tune the cooling output to the cooling needs of your home. During mild weather, they operate in the slow, super-efficient stage with reduced cooling output. In this slow stage, they run longer and dehumidify better.
There are several designs of two-stage compressors. Some use a two-piston compressor. When it rotates in one direction, only one piston moves. When the rotation reverses, both pistons move to double the cooling. Another design uses a two-speed compressor. Some models use two small compressors. These run on only one compressor except for very hot days with high cooling needs.
The newest and most efficient design is a two-stage scroll compressor. A scroll compressor has very few moving parts and operates quietly. This new two-stage scroll uses ozone-friendly R410A refrigerant.
Models that use the new R410A, non-HCFC, refrigerant, tend to operate quieter. R410A requires higher operating pressures. They are made with stronger, better materials that are quieter. Other sound-deadening design changes also make them very quiet.
Reducing the amount of electricity that you use for air conditioning will save your cash. Reducing your power use, will also cut the amount of coal that is burned by the power company. Reducing the amount of HCFC’s that are in use sooner is better than later.
Remember, when you push your thermostat setting lower the air conditioner will take more money out of your pocket no matter how efficient it is.
If you are looking for highest efficiency air conditioner that also provides the best quiet comfort and is 100% made in the USA, check out the Lennox model XC21.