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If Air Conditioner Shopping Is in Sight for Spring, Know the BasicsIf air conditioner shopping is in the near future, you’re likely facing a steep learning curve. Air conditioner technology has come a long way, and since air conditioners last up to 20 years, homeowners don’t have to face the prospect of buying a new one very often. To get up to speed on technological advancements, and to make the process easier for you, here’s a guide to the basics.

Learning about efficiency ratings

The federal government sets minimum standards for air conditioner efficiency, and manufacturers must comply with them. Currently, the standard efficiency rating for A/Cs is seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) 13, with high-efficiency air conditioners beginning at SEER 16 and reaching SEER 26.

SEER outlines the relationship between energy consumed to generate cooled air and the amount of cooled air produced, over one cooling season. Therefore, it’s a helpful rating to use when estimating operating costs.

Generally speaking, as the SEER rating goes up, so does its purchase price; however, higher-rated SEER A/Cs offer lower monthly energy costs. These savings help homeowners quickly recoup the higher purchase price. In addition, the federal government is offering tax credits for high-efficiency air conditioners, if you purchase and install one before the end of 2013.

Understanding features

The components employed in air conditioners generally dictate the systems’ efficiency, as well as their comfort capacity and life span. Manufacturers typically use the following high-tech features in  high-efficiency systems:

  • A variable-speed air handler adjusts the rate of air delivery to meet the exact cooling load of the home. Operating most often at the lower speeds, without starting and stopping, this technology helps homeowners benefit from even distribution of cooled air, high comfort levels in the home and energy savings.
  • A two-stage compressor adjusts the intensity of the production of cooled air, allowing the compressor to run at the low or high stage, depending on the climate.
  • A thermal expansion valve opens and closes to meter refrigerant to meet the cooling demand. Much like the other components, minor adjustments in delivery of refrigerant equal savings.

For expert help selecting a new air conditioner, in Royal Oak and Birmingham, contact Aladdin Heating & Cooling.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Detroit, Michigan about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about air conditioner shopping and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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