For the majority of Americans the largest energy consuming equipment in their home is their Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) system. Whether you are in the north and your HVAC unit is primarily used for heating or the South and your HVAC unit is primarily used for cooling, it is more than likely your largest energy hog.
The following is organized into three areas
5 little known facts about your Air-Conditioning
1. Whenever your A/C comes on it comes on full blast. Units purchased after 2018 may have a Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) that adjust the power based on the load, saving you energy.
2. There is no mechanical way to cool your space faster because no matter how low you turn the thermostat, the air coming out of your vents will always be the same temperature. The A/C will keep blowing that air until it reaches the temperature you set it to. Therefore, set your temperature to your comfort level and wait or risk it becoming too cold.
3. Your A/C determines when to come on and turn off based on the temperature sensor located in the thermostat. To avoid your A/C coming on to often, make sure your thermostat is not being hit by direct sunlight.
4. If your A/C unit comes on and then goes off within 10 minutes than it is most likely over-sized (i.e., too big). When a A/C unit is over-sized you may experience hot and cold spots throughout the space.
5. A/C unit efficiency is determined by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) value. The higher the SEER value the more efficient the A/C unit, but if your SEER value is under 13 then you should be thinking about replacing it. Your utility company may have an incentive or rebate program for replacing an old unit.
How does a HVAC system work?
An air-conditioning (A/C) unit controls the interior moisture (relative humidity) and offsets heat that is gained from the external environment and heat generated from internal loads (e.g., lights and appliances). The purpose of A/C is to provide a comfortable environment for occupants through temperature, humidity, and air movement. The four major components of an A/C unit are:
How Your Air-Conditioning impacts the environment
A/C is often the largest energy consumer during utility peak day and utility summer peak hours. During peak moments, the utility company must bring additional energy sources to the grid to avoid power outage. These supplemental energy sources often produce the most greenhouse gases. For examples, the grid could be running on hydro and natural gas normally, but during peak hours, coal plants are brought online to supplement the extra load. As such, reducing A/C energy consumption can often have greater reductions in greenhouse gas emissions than other energy efficiency measures. Minimizing A/C energy consumption can occur in two ways: reduce the power required to provide the necessary cooling through efficiency or reduce the runtime that A/C is cooling through behavior and/or controls.