Energy-efficient cooling is a priority for Sarasota, Florida, homeowners where air conditioners can work 24/7. Countless variables affect cooling efficiency, and some have more impact than others. Here are some key things to consider if you want to keep utility bills low:
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER Rating)
The SEER is an air conditioner’s efficiency rating. Generally speaking, the higher the SEER, the more efficient the unit. Experts suggest investing in an air conditioner with a SEER of at least 16 to maximize energy savings. However, even a high SEER won’t help with cooling costs if there are energy losses associated with ductwork leaks or insufficient attic insulation.
Industry studies confirm that annual AC maintenance can cut cooling costs by up to 40 percent. Preventive maintenance increases energy efficiency by removing dirt and grit that collects on air conditioners and makes them overwork. Dirty filters also cause air conditioners to overwork. The harder an air conditioner has to work, the lower its cooling efficiency will be.
Thermostats and Controls
Programmable thermostats automatically adjust indoor temperatures to provide the most efficient level of cooling output. However, these devices only save money when programmed properly. If you don’t want to program your thermostat, consider a smart thermostat. Based on your habits and preferences, a learning thermostat will determine the most desirable and efficient cooling output level at any given time. It will then provide that level of cooling output without any help from you.
An improperly-sized air conditioner will wreak havoc on cooling efficiency. A too-large system will spend all of its time starting up and spewing out blasts of cold air. It will cool your home unevenly, short-cycle and turn itself off before the desired temperature is reached. A too-small air conditioner will spend all of its energy trying to achieve the desired thermostat setting without ever really succeeding.
The older an air conditioner gets, the less efficient it will be. That’s true even for well-maintained units. On the other hand, new air conditioners get more efficient every year. If your AC is over 15 years old, you can increase cooling efficiency and save money by replacing the unit. That’s especially true if your existing unit hasn’t received regular maintenance.
American homes can lose up to 30 percent of cooled air through ductwork leaks. Not only is cooled air lost, but your air conditioner will have to overwork to make up for the losses. Leaky ducts can also increase dirt buildup on your equipment, and that makes the unit work harder, too.
Multi-stage vs. Single-stage Air Conditioning
Single-stage air conditioners have only one level of power. They use that level of power to cool your home regardless of whether you need a little cold air or a lot. Multi-stage air conditioners have several power settings. They switch between settings to deliver the most efficient level of cooling output at any given time. Multi-stage air conditioners usually operate at lower power settings, but they will automatically switch to a higher setting whenever additional power is needed.
Variable Speed Blower Motors
This technology is similar to that of multi-stage air conditioners. Variable speed blowers increase cooling efficiency by adjusting airflow. Although variable speed technology can increase energy efficiency, the power settings matter as well.
Geothermal Technology and Ductless Air Conditioning
Geothermal heat pumps are some of the most efficient cooling systems on the market. They can save homeowners up to 500 percent on energy costs. Ductless air conditioners are another high-efficiency cooling option that eliminates energy losses associated with ductwork leaks and allows you to cool only the rooms you use.
If you’re contemplating a high-efficiency air conditioner upgrade, visit Climatic Conditioning Co., Inc., or call us directly at (941) 758-3080. Our installation experts are available to help you find the most energy-efficient cooling solution for your Sarasota, Florida, home.