Are you in the market for a split air conditioning unit? Research from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows that air conditioning accounts for at least 12 percent of the energy expenditures in U.S. homes. Therefore, before buying a new unit, you need to evaluate its performance and efficiency. A high-efficiency AC system can significantly lower your home’s cooling costs.
As you shop around, follow a few tips on how to choose an efficient unit for your Richmond home.
Assess Your Home’s Cooling Needs
An air conditioning system gives the best efficiency when it is properly sized for a home. Sizing, in this case, refers to the cooling capacity and not the actual physical size of the unit. Before buying a split AC unit, assess your home’s cooling needs. Some crucial factors to consider include:
- The square footage of the home
- Number of rooms that need cooling
- Single-story versus multi-story house
- Number and type of windows
For example, a single-story home would require a smaller split AC as compared to a two-story one. A house with large windows that can bring in fresh air during the day would not need as much cooling as one with fewer or smaller windows. Assessing the cooling needs of the home allows you to buy an AC whose cooling capacity suits the space.
Invest in a High-Efficiency System
After establishing your home’s cooling needs, the next step is to find a high-efficiency system with excellent performance and reliable features. One of the key features of an ideal residential air conditioner is a high energy-efficiency rating. Buy a unit that bears an Energy Star logo. These units meet the standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The air conditioner should also have a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). In the U.S., the new energy efficiency standards effective in 2023 will require all residential units to have a SEER value of at least 14. Be on the lookout for residential split ACs in the market with 14 SEER and above.
Besides energy efficiency, there are other AC features that can maximize performance and generate energy savings. These include:
- Variable speed compressor: A variable or multi-speed compressor adjusts the motor speed to the current cooling demands. Unlike a single-speed one that runs at 100 percent all the time, a variable speed compressor lowers energy consumption by reducing motor speed when the cooling demand is low and vice versa.
- Smart thermostat: A smart thermostat automatically detects the temperatures in your home and adjusts the air as required. The thermostat can turn off the air when you don’t need cooling and save energy. You can also control it remotely using a smart device.
- Dehumidifier: In Virginia, humidity levels can rise in the summer. Buying a unit with an efficient dehumidifier can improve indoor comfort and protect the system from premature wear and tear.
Finding the right unit for your specific needs is easier when you look at these features.
Zone Your Air Conditioner
Air conditioner zoning is a system that allows you to separate your home into zones depending on their cooling needs. Each zone has a thermostat, and you can regulate the temperatures without affecting the rest of the rooms. Using a split AC simplifies zoning as you can use a separate indoor air handler for each zone.
Multi-zone split air conditioners feature two to eight indoor air handlers and one outdoor compressor unit. Your chosen number of indoor air handlers can correspond to the number of zones you need. For example, the living area and kitchen can be classified as one zone while the bedrooms can have separate zones depending on their location.
Zoning allows you to shut down the air in rooms that are not in use. It also caters to the varying cooling preferences of individuals in a household. When paired with a variable speed compressor, this system can significantly cut down on domestic cooling costs.
Finding the right split air conditioner can make a big difference in your home’s energy consumption. Our HVAC experts will not only recommend the best systems but also offer professional installation and maintenance services. Contact us to schedule a consultation!