Are Modern Air Conditioners More Energy Efficient?

Close up of Lennox air conditioner

Your air conditioner is a crucial piece of equipment in your home. It regulates temperatures in your residence and keeps you cool and comfortable. However, an air conditioning system can consume a considerable amount of energy, especially if the unit is old and inefficient. In recent years, manufacturers have been working to optimize the efficiency of AC units. Here are some of the ways modern air conditioners are more efficient than their traditional counterparts.

Modern Air Conditioners and Energy Efficiency Ratings

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. It quantifies the amount of energy your AC unit uses to cool your house. The higher the rating, the less energy your air conditioner is likely to consume. Even though they are often more expensive than older models, you can save by reducing your energy bills.

The EPA minimum standard for a cooling system in Missouri is a 13 SEER rating. However, the number can go up to 25. The most energy-efficient systems today can attain ratings of 20 or more.

Most homes still have cooling systems with a SEER rating of 10 or less. As the system ages, its efficiency goes down considerably. If your AC unit is older than a decade, you may want to consider consulting the team at Hoff Heating & AC in O’Fallon. Our NATE-certified technicians will be glad to explain your options to optimize your indoor comfort.

Energy-Saving Features

Thanks to recent advancements in technology, modern air conditioners have features to reduce their energy consumption. One of the features of more recent AC appliances is inverter technology.

The inverter controls the motors in your unit’s compressor and varies its speed depending on the indoor temperature. Unlike older models, the latest AC units can make minor adjustments throughout the day. Therefore, they do not have to overwork to keep your home cool and comfortable.

Traditional AC units without inverters have to keep starting and stopping because it is impossible to make gradual adjustments. As a result, they are more vulnerable to system failure. Older models age faster and are prone to breaking down more frequently, too.

Changing the filter is one of the maintenance tasks you need to carry out regularly. The filter can cause airflow problems and could reduce the efficiency of your air conditioner. Modern systems have indicators that can alert you when your filter needs cleaning or a replacement.

Types of Modern and Efficient Air Conditioners

The efficiency of modern cooling appliances depends on the technology it uses in regulating temperatures. Most traditional HVAC systems use resistance heating and a refrigerant for cooling. However, other technologies such as air-source heat pumps and geothermal can be more efficient.

A heat pump transfers heat from the indoors to the outdoors through a heat exchanger. It differs from a traditional system in that it primarily applies the principles of refrigeration to regulate temperatures. When the refrigerant is compressed, it releases heat. Uncompressing the fluid allows it to absorb energy.

Technicians can determine a heat pump’s efficiency using a measure known as the Co-efficient of Performance (COP). It measures the cooling output against the work the equipment performs. Since the technology can capture energy from the atmosphere, it can have a COP of 1.4 or more.

Another variation of a heat pump is a geothermal system. Heat pumps can extract and dispense heat from the underground using a system of pipe loops. They can be even more energy-efficient than air-sourced heat pumps. Geothermal units can have a thermal efficiency of 300% or a COP of 3.

However, geothermal systems require quality installation to be efficient and durable. As a result, they are more expensive to deploy in buildings. Whether you opt for a ground-sourced or air-sourced heat pump will depend on factors such as the climate and your cooling needs. You can talk to Hoff Heating & AC‘s team to learn more about efficient geothermal systems in O’Fallon.

Sizing and AC Output Considerations

While your air conditioner may be highly efficient, the installation of the system will determine its energy savings. One of the most critical aspects technicians have to consider during installation is the sizing of the unit. A cooling system that is too small will not heat the interior properly and may overwork. If it is too large, it may keep switching on and off to avoid running continuously.

A professional will have to conduct an audit of your house to determine your energy needs. The thermal efficiency of your unit is measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units). Generally speaking, the total square footage of your property will inform the number of BTUs you need.

Other than square footage, an AC professional will also consider aspects of your home such as its exposure to sunlight. Your local climate, the house’s heat gain rate, and the ceiling height are also critical factors you should consider.

Buildings with a shortage of space may need compact units such as mini-split systems. These are energy-efficient and considered ideal for places where installing ductwork would be impractical. Our professionals in O’Fallon can assist you in choosing a suitable system for your home.

Value of Smart and Programmable Features

Another feature you will find in the most recent AC models is a programmable thermostat. Thermostats are responsible for detecting temperatures and controlling the cooling mechanism of the air conditioner. The more precise it is, the more efficient the energy consumption of your equipment will be.

With a modern thermostat, you can create schedules based on your day-to-day activities. The thermostat can adjust temperatures automatically when you leave home and when you get back at the end of the day. That way, you will not forget to turn down your system when there is no one in the house.

Programmable systems have other features like Wi-Fi, which enables you to change temperatures regardless of your location. You can check in on your AC unit while you are on vacation. Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats can also work with other smart systems to coordinate cooling and save energy in your home.

Additionally, smart systems can produce reports that allow you to monitor your energy consumption. If you notice a spike in your utility bills, you may want to consider having your air conditioner inspected. An increase in consumption is often an indication of a fault in your system. You can turn to the certified technicians at Hoff Heating & AC for prompt AC services in O’Fallon.

Should You Replace Your Air Conditioner?

By replacing your old system, you can gain between 30% to 50% in energy savings. Even a cooling system that is only a decade old may be considerably less efficient than the latest models. Before you decide to upgrade your unit, it is essential to have the system evaluated by a professional.

It is advisable to arrange for an inspection of your property’s insulation, too. A professional will also determine the appropriate sizing of your existing equipment. Our technicians will rule out other issues before recommending an upgrade. There are times when a replacement is necessary to avoid recurring maintenance and repair expenses.

Hoff Heating & AC is a BBB-accredited company with highly skilled AC installation and replacement technicians in O’Fallon. We are a Lennox Premier Dealer, and our firm offers dependable and prompt AC repair services. Our team has experience installing indoor air quality systems and can answer your questions about humidification, air scrubbing, and ventilation. Call and schedule an appointment with our team in O’Fallon today.