Summers in New Mexico are notoriously hot. It’s not uncommon for temperatures to rise over 100 degrees. The desert climate offers majestic sunsets and a bunch of outdoor activities, but can also turn your home into a sweatbox! Fortunately we are long past the days when we are reliant on our natural surroundings for comfort. With advancements in technology, a home can be the ideal temperature all year long. An air conditioner is an amazing device that will cool off your home and most of the newer devices will maintain the temperature you want.
Not all air conditioners are created equally. It’s definitely worth taking time to make a list of needs, and then research available units, and find one that meets all your requirements. Air conditioners can be simple window units producing just enough BTUs (British Thermal Units) to cool off one room, or a central system cool off your whole home. Older units require a lot of energy to run so your electric bill could be quite high. Newer units have advantaged technology, and focus on energy efficiency.
The U.S. Department of Energy established minimum efficiency standards for air conditioners to reduce wasted energy. Every AC unit is given an efficiency rating, called a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating). The SEER is listed on the yellow Energy Guide label posted on each unit. It’s very important to look at these ratings. The higher the number, the more efficient the unit, which means it’ll cost less to provide cooling.
Compared to a central air conditioning system, window air conditioners are more affordable to operate if you just want to cool one or two rooms. They are also the most sensible option if you don’t own the property, or you don’t want to spend the extra cash for a central air conditioning system. Small models cost as little as $100. Large room air conditioners, with greater cooling capacities, can run up to $700.
If you want to keep your entire home cool, you’ll most likely need a central air conditioning system. A central air conditioning system consists of: a condenser unit, an air-handling unit with a blower, an evaporator coil, and a system of ductwork for exchanging room air with chilled air.
The condenser normally sits outdoors. The air handler, with the evaporator, is usually located in the basement, attic, or garage. The ductwork is routed through the basement or attic and walls throughout the house.
The air conditioner uses refrigeration technology to cool the air. A refrigerant, such as Freon, circulates through copper tubing that runs between the components. This refrigerant receives and releases heat as it raises and lowers in temperature. It changes from a liquid to a gas and back to a liquid.
Air conditioners have come a long way with advancements in technology. Energy efficiency has become a huge focus for manufacturers, partly due to the U.S. Department of Energy establishing minimum efficiency standards. Whether you decide on a window unit or a centralized system, make sure it meets all your needs. There’s no point in being uncomfortable in your own home!