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Energy Efficient Cooling Systems
In the United States, the efficiency of air conditioners is usually rated by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The higher the SEER rating, the more energy efficient is the air conditioner. The United States now requires that all residential systems manufactured have a minimum SEER rating of 13 or higher. Substantial energy savings can be obtained from more efficient air conditioning systems. For example by upgrading from a 10 SEER to a 16 SEER, the power consumption is reduced by 30%. This can result in an energy savings of up to $300 per year, depending on the usage rate and the cost of electricity*. In many cases, the lifetime energy savings are likely to surpass the higher initial cost of a high-efficiency unit.
* Potential saving comparing a 10 SEER system to a 16 SEER system. Actual energy savings vary based on lifestyle, system settings and size, maintenance, climate and installation.
Central Air Systems and Air Conditioners
An air conditioner changes the temperature, humidity or general quality of the air. More specifically, an air conditioner makes your home cooler by drawing heat energy out of the house and transferring that heat to the outdoors, then replacing the air inside your home with cooler air.
A central air system uses ducts to distribute cooled and/or dehumidified air to an entire home. The most common central cooling system is a split system, which includes an outdoor cabinet containing a condenser coil and compressor, and an indoor evaporator coil, usually installed in conjunction with your furnace or air handler. The compressor pumps a chemical called refrigerant through the system.
Once warm air inside your home blows across the indoor evaporator coil, its heat energy transfers to the refrigerant inside the coil. That transfer, in turn, “cools” the air. The refrigerant is pumped back to the compressor where the cycle begins again. The heat absorbed by the refrigerant is moved outside your home while cooled air is blown inside. Moisture that contributes to humidity is also condensed out of the air.
Your cooling system is usually combined with your central heating system because they share the same ductwork for distributing conditioned air throughout your home
Installing central air conditioning in a home that does not have air ducts can be difficult. A Mini-split system provides a unique solution to bringing central air conditioning into homes or rooms without ducts. By piping refrigerant to individual coils within air handlers mounted throughout a home, rather than a single refrigerant coil/air handler and central ductwork, mini-splits do not require ductwork like central air conditioning. Mini-split systems combine the flexibility of room air conditioners with the whole house cooling of central systems. Although some systems provide heating and cooling, ductless mini-split heat pumps are usually installed primarily for cooling.
Zoning lets you choose the temperature you want, where you want, when you want it. You might want to keep areas where you relax, such as the living room and family room, a bit warmer. But you might want bedrooms, a recreation room and your kitchen a bit cooler. Zoning your system allows you to put cooling where you want it most, enhancing your comfort and reducing your energy costs by as much as 30%.
High Velocity AC Systems
Many owners of older homes without cooling systems or those finishing basements, would like to add central air conditioning, but are daunted by the cost and difficulty of the installation of standard ductwork. This ductwork may require removing large sections of walls, floors or ceilings, or adding unsightly box chases. However, high velocity cooling systems minimize these alterations by using small diameter ducts that can be more easily threaded through floor, ceiling, and wall cavities. These high velocity systems operate quietly and improve dehumidification, room air mixing, and energy efficiency over standard air-delivery duct systems.