Old central air conditioners tend to fail at either seasonal startup or the hottest day of the year. Any time it happens, however, could be blessing in disguise if upgrading your A/C is the result. If your defunct unit was made before 2006, chances are it has a SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) of no more than 10. Today’s minimum SEER is 13, so you’re guaranteed to gain at least three points on the SEER scale just by upgrading your A/C to the current minimum. Each SEER number you advance increases energy efficiency by 5 to 9 percent, so a 15 to 27 percent boost immediately puts money in your pocket in the form of electricity savings.
But that’s just the beginning. Instead of a small step up to SEER 13, consider a larger leap by upgrading your A/C to a high-efficiency unit of SEER 15 or more. In addition to exponentially greater energy efficiency, here’s how comfort level is increased, too:
ECM condensing fans
Electrically Commutated Motor (ECM) fans at the condenser and evaporator coils constantly adjust to changing cooling load, producing more precise airflow over the coils. This makes cooling more consistent and saves energy.
On mild days or cool nights, a fan-only option allows you to keep air circulating in the system without starting up the compressor and drawing more electricity.
All high-efficiency units remove more water vapor from the air than standard units. Some go further, providing a special enhanced dehumidification cycle activated by a humidistat that senses high levels of humidity in the home.
On the hottest days — roughly 15 percent of the cooling season — you need full compressor output. The rest of the time, a lower setting is sufficient and conserves energy, too. Standard units have a one-speed compressor that runs at full output at all times. The multi-stage compressor in high-efficiency units drops back to the lower stage automatically when cooling load demands. The more continuous operation provides improved air filtration and humidity control.
Through the long, hot Kansas summer, Comfort Systems keeps Wichita homeowners in cool comfort. Contact us for more information about upgrading your A/C.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about upgrading your A/C and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.