I recently had to buy a new car, not because I wanted to but because my last one was stolen (that’s a story for another day). I decided to get the same model as one I had owned 10 years ago.
The car was essentially the same in look and feel but was totally different in most other aspects. It was the same size, had roughly the same power and handled essentially the same. That’s where the similarities ended. My new car has superior gas mileage, improved comfort, more advanced technology and improved convenience and safety — all features that enhance my enjoyment of the vehicle.
Sure, the more basic car of 10 years ago would have gotten me from A to B, but not in quite the same way.
So, how is this story relevant to air-conditioning? The relevance is actually in how buying a car and buying air conditioning or other HVAC equipment is different.
In a car, all the pieces of the system are contained in a single package. While they are discreet pieces of equipment, they are integrated into a system where everything works together. You can replace a single component and get essentially the same performance as you had previously.
However, with air conditioning or your furnace, to take full advantage of recent technological improvements, they should be upgraded together. This is especially true if they are more than 10 years old as there has been a lot of technological change in this time.
We now have air conditioners that are up to three times as efficient as the models they’ve replaced. New high efficiency air conditioners come with multi stage and even fully variable speed compressors to match the output of the air conditioner with the load required by the home, so no energy gets wasted. To reach these efficiencies, however, they must be matched with a compatible furnace that also has a variable speed blower motor. Coupled with the right thermostat you can get better temperature distribution throughout your home and enjoy the added benefit of managing it through your smart phone, wherever you happen to be.
While energy efficiency is a big feature of today’s furnaces and air conditioners, moisture management is equally important. When a high efficiency air conditioner is matched with a variable speed furnace, you can also improve humidity control, particularly in the spring and fall, which can be quite damp. They can also work together with an energy recovery ventilator to bring fresh air into your home for optimal moisture control year round. There have also been significant improvements in sound reduction, inside and outside the home.
Contractors anxious to make a quick sale and then move on will often focus on the one piece that needs changing now. They might propose replacing the furnace or air conditioner as well but only at the entry product level. As you might suspect, the best efficiencies and features are only available on the higher end products. There is no question they can cost more, which is why we try to make them more accessible for our customers with financing plans that can put leading edge technology into your home for as little as $165/month.
The next time you are replacing a key piece of HVAC equipment, consider how it will work most efficiently with other equipment in your home.