The concept of air conditioning has existed for thousands of years. This impulse to create a more comfortable environment with cool air shows how much hot summers can disrupt our lives. The first practical air conditioning system was designed in 1902 by Willis Haviland Carrier. The humid heat caused paper to swell and shrink at the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing & Publishing Company printing presses. His design helped to control the humidity and temperature within the printing facility, and similar designs rapidly grew across the country.
Now, air conditioning systems have become vital to every indoor setting including homes, offices, schools, and other commercial buildings. Central air conditioners improve the comfort, health and security of your home. Unlike portable air conditioners and window units, a contemporary AC unit can be designed to be incredibly energy efficient, as it reduces carbon emissions and saves money. Achieving energy-efficient air within your home is a common goal of homeowners when they speak with Poston Brothers. Whether you are planning to purchase a new AC unit; gaining insight into how to improve your existing HVAC system; or discovering methods to get the best life expectancy from your AC unit, Poston Brothers provides extensive insight.
Why Air Conditioners Are Important for Your Home
Air conditioners play a significant role in the comfort, health and security of your home. Controlling the temperature and air quality within homes and businesses is not simply a matter of comfort; air conditioning provides protection for families.
In hot weather, air conditioners help to control the temperature which offers an oasis from dangerous heat. Preventing heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion is important during the summer heat. The symptoms of these illnesses come on quickly, especially for young children and older family members.
Air conditioners also help to reduce indoor air pollution by circulating air throughout your home and filtering the air. Many air conditioners can help reduce the risk of respiratory problems, allergies, asthma and other health issues.
Air conditioners also protect your property by maintaining the humidity within your home. High humidity levels may cause electrical shorts, make materials more flammable and increase the risk of fires.
Overall, air conditioning can help to protect families by providing a comfortable and safe indoor environment, reducing the risk of heat-related illnesses and indoor air pollution, and reducing the risk of fire.
Installing a More Energy-Efficient Air Conditioner
Early air conditioners focused solely on the process of controlling the temperature, humidity, and air quality in a space to create a comfortable environment. Designing safer, more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient air conditioners became a priority for a number of reasons in the late 20th century. For homeowners, effective cooling power balanced with the lowest energy consumption helps to keep energy bills lower without sacrificing safety and comfort.
Some of the most recognizable energy-efficiency ratings include:
Energy Star Certified
In 1992, the Environmental Protection Agency created a voluntary program called Energy Star. This program has the dual goal of saving consumers money and protecting the environment from energy waste. At this point, nearly every appliance within your kitchen, garage and even electronic gadgets can earn the Energy Star label. Energy Star-certified products must exceed the energy standards for that product. While Energy Star-certified products help you recognize energy-efficient models, nearly every manufacturer has gone beyond this voluntary program.
British Thermal Unit
The BTU rating of an air conditioner describes how much heat the air conditioner can remove from a room per hour. The higher the BTU rating, the more powerful the air conditioner is and the larger the room it can cool. This system of measurement can often be confusing because BTUs are sometimes used to measure the energy efficiency of an air conditioner. You should not assume that a unit with a lower BTU rating will use less energy to run. Likewise, you should not assume a higher BTU will provide more cool air to every area.
Instead, the British Thermal Unit is relevant for cooling capacity. Manufacturers provide guidelines that highly trained HVAC technicians use to match the ideal air conditioner to the square feet and design of your home. What size air conditioner you purchase is based on the square feet of your home. The wrong size air conditioner, both too small or large, will not only waste energy but can cost thousands in repair and replacement costs. In short, experts use British Thermal Units to match the proper AC unit to the square feet of your home.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is a measure of the efficiency of an air conditioner over a typical cooling season. It is calculated by dividing the cooling output of the system (BTUs) by the energy input (in watts) during a typical cooling season. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy efficient the system is.
The DOE sets minimum SEER ratings for air conditioning systems sold in the United States. As of 2021, the minimum SEER rating for standard air conditioners is 14. Manufacturers are constantly improving designs. High-efficiency systems with SEER ratings above these minimums are available and can help to save energy and reduce energy costs.
More than Energy Star ratings, the SEER rating is an important factor to consider when selecting an air conditioning unit because it greatly influences operating costs. This data, also known as seasonal energy efficiency rating, is clearly indicated on units. When you work with an HVAC professional, there may be a number of models that suit the square feet of your home. Energy consumption is a long-term cost as most air conditioners will last 15-20 years. Reviewing the SEER rating is the best way to identify the best air conditioners for low energy consumption.
Steps to Reduce Air Conditioning Energy Bills
The Energy Star decal and SEER rating label are not the only measure of energy-efficient air conditioners. There are some extremely simple steps to truly improving energy efficiency in your home.
For a standard thermostat, you should set the thermostat to the highest comfortable temperature. For every degree you lower the thermostat, you can save up to 3% on your energy bill. Combined with an energy-efficient air conditioner, this makes your energy consumption a bit lower.
Programmable and smart thermostats make the most impact. Running your air conditioning system when you are not home is like turning on every lightbulb before you leave for work. It’s a waste of energy and money. Smart thermostats automatically adjust the temperature when you are not at home. By avoiding unnecessary cooling while you are not at home, you reduce energy usage, and your air conditioner works less.
Keep the air filter clean in your central air conditioner. Energy efficiency is reduced when airflow is restricted. You can purchase the most energy-efficient air conditioner, but if you neglect it, dirty filters, dirty air conditioning units and dirty air ducts all work to increase strain.
Check Vents and Air Ducts
Depending on where air ducts are located in your home, a visual inspection annually may be needed from a professional contractor. A major source of energy loss is through compromised air ducts and dirty and clogged vents. A damaged air duct or leaky seal undermines the most energy-efficient air conditioner.
Create Shade and Circulation
When necessary, close shades, blinds, and curtains to block the sun’s rays. This can help to keep your home cooler and reduce the load on the air conditioner. Using ceiling fans to circulate the air can make a room feel comfortable, allowing the thermostat setting to be adjusted to a warmer setting.
Average Lifespan of AC units
The average lifespan of an air conditioner is about 15-20 years. There are a wide range of factors that affect the unit’s lifespan, most notably the quality of the air conditioner, frequency of use and frequency of maintenance. In short, the average life of an air conditioner largely depends on you.
Air conditioners that are properly installed and maintained can last longer than those that are not. When Poston Brothers maintains an air conditioner each year, the system is far more likely to run efficiently.
If your air conditioner is more than 15 years old and experiencing frequent problems, it may be time to consider replacing it with a newer, more energy-efficient model. Furthermore, an air conditioner that is not energy efficient costs far more to operate.
Choosing a New Air Conditioner
An HVAC professional provides detailed consultations to guide you to the right choice for your home and family. There is always a goal to match the most energy-efficient air conditioner to your home. Unlike mounting a window unit and crossing your fingers, efficient air conditioners are designed by highly trained professionals.
First, technicians match the right size central air conditioning system for your home. Next, you must balance the efficiency and features you desire with your budget. An air conditioner is a major expense for many homeowners. We provide consultation to help you make a careful decision:
This is the most important long-term factor. We help you understand how the energy rating will impact your energy use each month.
Adding air cleaners, humidifiers, smart thermostats and other indoor air quality solutions can impact your energy usage and thus increase energy efficiency throughout your home.
Consider financing as a method to offset the initial costs. While the energy-efficiency ratio appeals to every homeowner, the reality is you must be able to afford the air conditioner. Poston Brothers offers financing options to help offset the expense of air conditioning units.
Installation of Central Air Conditioners
The proper installation of energy-efficient air conditioners helps your system run smoothly, saves money and extends its lifespan. Designing the proper ductwork, adjusting vents and calibrating the AC unit greatly contribute to the energy-efficient air conditioning experience you need to create. The best air conditioner will be wasted if not properly installed, maintained and repaired.
Annual inspections are vital to keeping your system running efficiently. While homeowners can and should keep the area around the unit free of debris and change air filters regularly, it’s crucial to partner with professional HVAC services for annual inspections.
Annual inspections inspect the complete system for any leaks within the unit and the ductwork. Over time and use, components need to be cleaned, adjusted, tested and calibrated. For instance, a dirty coil reduces efficiency. Annual inspections verify that your unit, ductwork and thermostat are all working at the highest levels. Poston Brothers offers an HVAC Maintenance Program for homeowners to simplify the tune-up and inspection of their HVAC system.
Air Conditioning Repair
Beyond maintenance, aging air conditioners may need occasional repairs. When your air conditioner is running strong, your energy usage will be low. Knowing the warning signs your air conditioner is losing efficiency is important to saving money. Obviously, tuning up and repairing your air conditioner helps your air conditioner last as long as possible.
Some of the top signs of repair that lead to increased energy consumption include:
If your air conditioner’s airflow suddenly weakens, your system must work harder to properly cool your home. Some of the most common reasons for reduced airflow include clogged HVAC filters, blockages in air ducts, internal issues in the air handler and frozen evaporator coils. Some basic issues like replacing the air filter can be performed at home, but calling Poston Brothers for AC unit repair is the wisest choice.
No Cool Air
Refrigerant leaks and faulty compressors may result in hot air blowing from your air conditioner. Homeowners can inspect the thermostat. Verify the system is on and the mode is set to cooling. Surprisingly, we often find thermostats are the cause of the loss of cooling power. When warm air is blowing from your air filter, Poston Brothers has the knowledge and tools to quickly restore comfort.
If it has been some time since your air conditioning system has been maintained, you may have a dirty outdoor condenser unit, a dirty or clogged air filter, a broken condenser fan or damaged air ducts. Energy waste through leaks in air ducts can be resolved through repair and maintenance.
The System Is Short Cycling
Air conditioner short cycling occurs when your unit turns on and shuts off too frequently. As well as failing to cool your home, short cycling can lead to excess wear and tear and extreme increases in energy bills.
Like other signs of AC repair, a lack of maintenance is a primary culprit. Again, a dirty HVAC filter could be the problem. When your system’s filter becomes too clogged, your HVAC unit must work harder to compensate. Instead of overheating or breaking down completely, your AC unit may simply shut down prematurely. These issues should always be addressed by a professional technician.
Strange Sounds and Smells
If you hear anything abnormal, promptly shut your system off. Likewise, if you notice a foul smell coming from your AC, act quickly by turning your AC unit off and calling Poston Brothers. If dust and excess moisture build up on the AC unit or in the air handler, you may smell mold and mildew. Most air conditioners that are well maintained will not experience disruptions in operations, but your HVAC system may need occasional repairs.
Benefits of AC Repair Service
While you may put off calling for an air conditioning repair, you really should get your system fixed as soon as possible. Neglected issues often turn into bigger problems and very seldom go away on their own. There are many benefits to having air conditioning repairs done quickly, including:
As previously noted, the cooling process afforded by air conditioners protects your family. A compromised air conditioner is a health and safety issue. At the first sign of trouble, contact our team. Fortunately, repairing your air conditioning unit allows you to gain back the comfort of a cool environment in your own home.
Saving Money on Replacement Costs
Unlike a window unit, the best air conditioners are built to last for decades. It can be costly to replace your air conditioning unit, and when you initiate repairs at the first warnings of trouble, professional technicians are able to intervene, diagnose and repair minor issues before they escalate. The last thing any homeowner wants is an unnecessary AC replacement.
Extending the Life of Your Unit
Problems with air conditioning units can quickly escalate, leading to damage that can decrease the lifespan of your heating and cooling system. Poston Brothers can help with air conditioning repairs and maintenance to keep your unit running strong. We keep cold air filling your home all summer long.
Contact Poston Brothers for Air Conditioning Services
Let’s face it – most homeowners only consider air conditioners and the rest of their HVAC systems when they break. Few of us look at the energy-efficiency rating on our central air conditioner. HVAC professionals spend years training, designing and repairing air conditioners. When you hire an experienced, local HVAC company, you gain experience and care. At Poston Brothers, our technicians train with the manufacturers on the latest techniques and tools for gaining the most energy efficiency. Central air conditioning does not have to come with a huge energy bill.
Poston Brothers has a passion for getting the most efficient and robust performance from your AC unit. When you call our team for any air conditioning service, we work tirelessly to keep your system running with peak energy use. Our top goal is your comfort, but we have a real passion for lower bills, cleaner systems and longer lifespans. When you need a partner in choosing a new energy-efficient air conditioner or to keep your current system running in tip-top shape, call on Poston Brothers.