Is there really anything new in air conditioning?

Because air conditioning systems tend to last for more than a decade most people don’t have a need to keep up with the latest trends. But today’s available systems may be more sophisticated and efficient than the one currently in your home if it is more than 6-8 years old. If you’re looking at a replacement you should consider the following options that have grown in popularity over the last few years.  Geothermal systems use the consistently cool temperature underground to cool your home instead of the normally hot air outside.  Geothermal systems are some of the most energy efficient available.  Another system that is catching on across the country is a heat pump which can work as an air conditioner in the summer and can the run in reverse and act as a heater in the winter.  These systems have long been used in southern states, but with advances in technology now providing better heating and cooling options these reversible heat pumps are now being used more frequently in the upper Midwest and northern states.  These systems are also popular in areas where electricity costs and availability provide better economics than burning gas, propane or fuel oil.  Ductless mini-split air conditioners are also gaining in popularity for certain applications.  Rather than moving cool air around your house as part of a central system they condition one room at a time.  These are usually mounted on a wall or ceiling and are ideal for a room addition or to add cooling to a garage.  As you can see there are many more options than just buying cold air. It’s worth the time to explore your options and if you have questions, ask a contractor!

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5 thoughts on “Is there really anything new in air conditioning?

  1. Compared to friends central air my two year old central air does not feel as cool or as strong a from my air vents. My a/c unit runs nearly all the time. It is cooler outside than inside my home. What air flow should I expect from my air vents? Would having an independent a/c expert make me a report on my a/c be useful before asking my a/c company to replace the whole system?

    • Colin,

      Typically an A/C system should run around 400 cfm per ton, depending on the location’s latent load. High latent load (humid) the lower the cfm airflow (US Southern East Coast). Lower latent load (dry) the higher the CFM (Arizona).

      Basically, the target airflow setting needs to be set per Climate zone. Really can’t troubleshoot anything else, until the system’s airflow is corrected.

      Thanks,
      Scott

  2. Hi Ruth – we are not aware of any national furnace standards like you described but there might be some local regulations which affect this. The recent national regulations we have been tracking deal with air conditioners and heat pumps – including both the indoor and outdoor units. There might also be some confusion about the equipment involved with those. In any case, we usually recommend getting at least three different quotes or esimates from different contractors before making a large HVAC investment. Here is a link to our article on regulations.
    http://www.ac-heatingconnect.com/homeowners-know-regional-standards-enforcement/
    I hope this helps.

  3. I have been told that it is mandatory if replacing heat pump the furnace must also be replaced. Is this correct?

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