Perhaps you’ve heard that the requirements for air conditioners have changed, and that all newly manufactured air conditioners installed in the US must meet a higher standard for energy efficiency. But did you know that a lot has changed in how air conditioners are made? New AC models can achieve extraordinary efficiency, which could mean much-lower electric bills once you replace your system. Here’s how they do it.
The new regulation requires that any new AC units installed in the southern US have a SEER2 rating of 14.3 or higher. (In the northern US, where air conditioners get a lot less use, they must have a rating of at least 13.4.) But what is a SEER2 rating?
It stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and is calculated by assessing the amount of heat an air conditioner can remove from the air over the course of a whole cooling season (this is measured in British Thermal Units or BTUs) and dividing that by the amount of energy it will use during that same time period (which is measured in watt-hours). The more efficient a system is, the higher the number will be. With the new minimum being 13.4, everyone’s systems will be more efficient than the air conditioners of years ago.
How New Air Conditioners are Made More Efficient
Raising a requirement without the technology being able to support it would be a fool’s errand. But the new SEER2 rating requirements were made with input from AC manufacturers. You see, in recent years, there have been some amazing developments in HVAC technology that have revolutionized energy efficiency in home cooling. There are three major changes that have occurred.
- The Coils: A central AC unit has evaporator coils indoors which soak up heat and condenser coils outdoors which allow that heat to dissipate. The way to use the least energy during this process is to have coils that change temperature as easily as possible. New materials are being used in the construction of the coils which allow for greater heat transfer, which means more heat being removed from your home with less energy use.
- The Motor: There is a blower fan that passes air over the evaporator coils, cooling the air and then sending it along through your ductwork to cool your home. In the past, the motor which powered this fan only operated at a single speed. New air conditioners have variable-speed motors which keep the process running smoothly at low power and only switch to a higher-power mode when it’s absolutely necessary.
- The Compressor: This is another component that used to only have two settings: on and off. But now they can also be made to operate at different energy levels. Highly-efficient compressors, like their blower fan motor counterparts, operate with as little energy as they can, only transitioning to full power a small percentage of the time.
Are you considering AC replacement in Birmingham, AL? If your air conditioner is more than ten years old, has frequent repair needs, is currently in need of a major repair, or if you’re just plain tired of paying more than you should every time your electric bill comes due, you might want to upgrade to one of these great new options.
“Your experience is what matters most!” Contact Douglas Cooling & Heating today for help with all your heating and cooling needs.