Ultra High Efficiency Air Conditioning System

Ultra High Efficiency Air Conditioning: What you need to know!

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Basic Overview

Before you buy that ultra high efficiency air conditioning system there are some need-to-knows that could possibly save you thousands and help keep you comfortable for the long haul! If you have been on the fence about whether or not to replace your air conditioning system and you really just need to know what the difference between something that is basic, middle of the road, and something that is considered high-end then hopefully this quick article will begin to shed some light.

Your air conditioning system is made up of several matched components. The specifics on the configurations of these systems is outside the scope of this post but you can find some resources in an upcoming post. To keep everything simple let's use a basic configuration for a home in North Texas with natural gas service. We also will limit the types of systems to residential split systems. Outside your home you have your condenser. Inside you have your gas furnace, and evaporator coil. These components all work together to give you comfort inside your home. Of course it also takes quite a bit of electricity to do so. That is why it is important to understand the differences between SEER, the seasonal energy efficiency ratio, and how it impacts your electric bill. You can get a complete guide to understanding SEER rating here.

Why Ultra High Efficiency Systems save you money

Why higher SEER saves you money

What is Ultra High Efficiency?

A#1 Air has classified any air conditioner with an efficiency rating over 16 SEER to be an Ultra High Efficiency Unit. There are several manufactures that offer air conditioning units that have ratings above 16 SEER in the residential split system market. However, there are very few that do it well reliably. These systems require exceptional industry knowledge and advanced familiarity with inverter compressors. It is with these types of variable compressors that allow the system to run so efficiently. Your basic and middle of the road systems do a great job turning on and off to reach your desired temperature in your home. An ultra high efficiency system does an excellent job of consistently maintaining the optimal comfort level by turning on and off as little as often. You may be thinking huh?! How is a system that runs more often going to save me more on my utility bills? Very simply, just think about getting in your car on a hot day. When you first get in you blast the AC as cold as possible. Once you start to get comfortable or you start freezing out your spouse you quickly compensate by turning the volume of air down, not necessarily the temperature. Not until the feeling of being hot again do you reach for the fan setting and turn back up the volume of air to cool back down your occupants - mainly your spouse - until they are nice and comfortable, (love you sweetheart!).

What an ultra high efficiency unit seeks to do is automate that entire process for you! Very simply put, the key is to maintain the temperature without having to make those manual adjustments to your fan speed. In addition, your basic home air conditioner utilizes the most amount of energy in a sharp peak once the unit starts. This spike in start-up amperage wears on the components of your unit and can happen hundreds of times in a day depending on your home. Compare that to an ultra high efficiency unit, which may shut down and start up only a handful of times throughout the day. A big difference as you can see.

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How does an Ultra High Efficiency system maintain the perfect temperature?

The key to maintaining the perfect comfort levels lies inside of the outdoor condenser and the indoor variable speed blower motor. The big difference between your basic ac units and that of the ultra high efficiency units is that the compressor can variably control the flow of refrigerant and airflow going through your system. What this means is that if your home requires 4 tons of cooling, your conventional system will deliver 4 tons of cooling while its running and when it's off... well, it's not delivering any cooling. An inverter compressor on the other hand adjusts the cooling load on the fly to constantly deliver the proper amount cooling. In other words, if you need to cool your home down fast it could deliver slightly more than 4 tons of cooling to your home and when the temperature simply needs to maintain then it can operate at 2 tons for example. This reduction in capacity is the difference between a unit that simply turns on and off. The chart below is a visual aid that represents how temperature is maintained and the minimal amount of energy used to keep the temperature consistent over long periods of time.

Ultra High Efficient System vs Basic HVAC System

Ultra High Efficient System vs Basic HVAC System - cr. Dustin Mora


Before you buy Ultra High Efficiency!!

Occasionally homeowners that have done a good bit of research on a ultra high efficient units fail to put the same amount of time and effort into the research needed to find a qualified professional to install one of these systems. Many contractors may only install a few of these units annually if at all. Many manufacturers even put restrictions on those that are able to install them also. This can mean the difference between the much desired reduction in utility payments that a high end system can garner. In the end find a contractor that routinely installs systems 18 SEER and up. A#1 Air is one of the leading residential retrofit companies in the United States and installs several ultra high efficiency systems a day during the summer months. They also do frequent HVAC training and stay up to date with the latest technologies with lessons from their in house education director Chuck Morales.

What is the best air conditioner for my home?

There are many options that must be considered. Most importantly a detailed analysis should be performed to find out the exact needs for your home and lifestyle. Every home is different when it comes to exactly how much air conditioning is needed to sufficiently cool a living space. Simply taking into account the structure of a home with the directional orientation and number of windows will not always lead to a comfortable result. As far as a specific recommendation, here is a very helpful article that talks about 2 of the leading brands of air conditioners and why A#1 Air suggests either of these options as a best air conditioner for your home solution.

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