When you’re buying an air conditioner, it’s likely you’ll encounter a whole new world of terms and concepts. The technology for air conditioners has improved over the last few years and many more features are available that increase their efficiency and your comfort.
The minimum energy efficiency standard for central cooling systems stands at 13 SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) and goes into the 20s. Each increase in the SEER rating indicates that the system provides 10 percent more efficient cooling. A 16 SEER system will use 30 percent less electricity than a 13 SEER system, and if you’re replacing an air conditioner with a 10 SEER rating or lower, your cooling bills will drop noticeably.
If high efficiency is something you’re looking for when buying an air conditioner, look for these features that work well in our climate:
- Variable-speed motors in the blower. These motors, also called electronically commutated motors (ECMs) run quietly and remove more humidity than a single-speed motor. They use substantially less electricity and since they don’t contain brushes, can last longer, as well.
- Dual-speed compressors. The compressor in the outdoor condenser pressurizes the refrigerant and uses a substantial amount of electricity to do so. A system with a dual-speed compressor uses less electricity because it only runs on high speed when the cooling demands are highest. When it cools at night or on moderately warm days, the compressor won’t run as fast, saving you money.
These features don’t increase the SEER, but are important to consider because they indirectly contribute to higher efficiency.
- Filter check light. A light turns on when it’s time to check and change the air filter for the blower. Dirty filters slow airflow, which harms your equipment and increases energy bills.
- An automatic fan delay switch. This switch runs the blower a few minutes longer than the condenser to totally evacuate the conditioned air in the ducts.
If you’d like to learn more about buying an air conditioner, contact Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing. We’ve provided outstanding HVAC services for Grand Traverse and the surrounding counties for more than 30 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air conditioners and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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