Modern technology allows us to find new solutions to old problems. Every year, we see new products and materials that help lower energy costs and improve home comfort. Take a look at where we’ve been, where we are and where we may go next.
The extended phaseout of R-22 — the refrigerant used in older home air conditioning systems — has been going on for decades now. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mandated the phaseout because R-22, when released into the atmosphere, harms the earth’s ozone layer.
That’s why all A/C systems made since 2010 use a greener refrigerant called R-410A. Of course, R-22 is still being used as a refrigerant in older equipment. There’s no law that says you can’t. But as the availability of R-22 has gotten more limited, it has become more expensive. In less than two years, R-22 will no longer be manufactured at all.
That’s a big problem if your old A/C system leaks R-22 refrigerant and you need to find more.
what you can do
One option is to have us retrofit your existing R-22 system to make it compatible with the newer refrigerant. If your system is beginning to wear out, however, it makes more sense to replace it entirely.
If you’re not sure what type of refrigerant your air conditioning system has, please contact us. All of the A/C systems we install use economical and environmentally friendly R-410A refrigerant instead of expensive and scarce R-22.
efficiency matters too
Besides the refrigerant issue, keep in mind that all new air conditioning systems are many times more efficient than models available even a decade ago. Upgrading to a higher efficiency cooling system can save you a lot of money over the long run on utility bills and repair costs.
Newer homes have a lot of open space, with multiple levels and large windows that bring in natural light. But this modern design presents comfort challenges if there are only one or two thermostats in the house. Rooms with direct sun exposure or those on the upper levels will get too hot. Rooms that are located too far from the thermostat may get too cool. Keeping a consistent temperature in every room presents a challenge.
That’s why the introduction of zone control systems has been a game changer. Basically, more thermostats are added and the ductwork is modified to create additional temperature zones. This allows the heating and cooling systems to provide better temperature control. With zoning, you can heat or cool only the rooms you want, when you want. Besides providing great comfort, a zoning system saves a lot of energy and reduces utility bills dramatically.
Ductless mini-split systems — which let you heat or cool virtually any space without installing ductwork — will continue to grow in demand.
There will be more widespread use of smart devices for the home, including programmable touch-screen thermostats with Wi-Fi capability. More people will use apps that let them analyze the energy usage in their home. It’s estimated that 26 billion smart devices will be connected to the Internet of Things by 2020.
Consumers will continue to embrace mobile technologies to set up preventative maintenance and request other home comfort services.
The emphasis on green building design will continue with a strong focus on indoor air quality throughout. This includes a technique known as demand-controlled ventilation, which reduces energy consumption while maintaining proper indoor air quality.
Integrated controls — combining heating, cooling and indoor air quality with electronic air filters and zoning — will become more common.
Recognizing the needs of today’s technology-driven consumers, smart HVAC companies will keep building their online reputation through customer reviews; they’ll also stay connected with younger consumers via social media.