Over the years, many industries have developed higher standards of energy efficiency including the heating and cooling industry. Heating and cooling systems are more efficient than ever and new models are constantly coming out that consume less energy than older models. This progress greatly benefits consumers, as they now have the ability to choose highly efficient air conditioners or furnaces that keep energy costs down.
The important term for air conditioner efficiency is Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The efficiency of an air conditioner is determined by its SEER rating with a higher rating meaning the unit is more efficient.
There are two main developments in the heating and cooling industry that allowed for more energy efficient air conditioners and higher SEER ratings:
- R410A refrigerant – The old refrigerant that was used for years is called R22, but it doesn’t allow for very high SEER ratings. In 1991, R410A was invented as a more energy efficient alternative to R22. As mandated by the US government, all AC systems manufactured after January 1, 2010 have to use R410A.
- Two-Stage air conditioners – Two-stage air conditioning units have two levels of operation: a high setting for really hot days and a low setting for mild days. 80% of the time, the low setting is sufficient for your cooling needs. This allows the air conditioner to run more efficiently and produce more comfortable temperatures.
When it’s time to replace your system, taking advantage of these advances in technology can have a significant impact in lowering your energy costs. Two-stage air conditioners with SEER ratings of 16 or 18 are recommended for most homes because they are extremely efficient while also providing the most comfort.
If you feel like you are paying too much on your energy bills, you might have an inefficient unit or it could be caused by a number of other problems. The only way to really find out is by scheduling an energy audit with a professional. Your technician will assess your energy consumption and determine where you can improve your efficiency. Schedule an energy audit today to make sure you are optimizing your energy efficiency.
For more information on air conditioner efficiency ratings, view these resources: