The Difference Between Low and High Efficiency Air Conditioners


Hey I’m Larry janeski from dr. Energy Saver and I’m Kelly, laughs, ler from dr. Nancy, saver and mines, air conditioning and the Orlando Florida area, we’re here in this southern climate to talk about something that is incredibly important for homeowners here and that’s air conditioning. Yes, you know it gets so hot down here in the south and we need to be able to cool our houses to make them comfortable. In fact, that’s really.

The point of a house is to make a comfortable environment for people to live, and we can spend a lot on air conditioning or a little on air conditioning at the cost of running it. We can make our houses more or less comfortable, depending on the equipment that we use. First, we’re going to talk about low efficiency, air conditioning Kelly. What do we have here? What we have here is a 17 year old carrier unit, it’s about a 3 ton system.

As you can see, it’s been sitting here for quite a while. You can see all the oxidation we have a palm tree. Even that’s grown up behind the unit, which really helps doesn’t help it much it pushes it out off the back of the pad. Okay, let’s sit forward, you can see down here alone the edges, how this has been moved, sideways and every other directions sitting right now. Good three inches off the pad right, so so this is 17 years old.

Yes, I said now what does that tell us that it’s 17 years old? What do we know right off the bat? Well, what we know right off the bat is we’re dealing with a lower efficiency unit and, as most people may not understand, even though they may have a six or eight seer unit over time, these units actually lose efficiency, so it could be operating at a six Or four seer at this okay. So now, when we say seer we mean that’s SCE, our. What does that mean?

What that is, is that’s your seasonal energy efficiency rating, and that tells you basically how efficient the units running the less efficient iran’s the more energy it costs to run the unit. So by looking at these, you can see they. These homes typically are going to spend a lot more money on air conditioning than a newer home or a newer unit on a home okay. So when we say how efficient it is the efficiency rating, doesn’t that mean how, if fishing it is at turning electricity? And I’m going to call that that dollars?

Okay, because we pay for electricity correct how efficient is it? Is it at turning dollars into cold air right? Yes, okay, so this seer rating on this, when it was new, might have been. You said six, probably a six or eight seer unit at most okay, and now it’s old, it’s running at probably a four to six years, what we’re running out all right! So it’s that the the state of the art today, what’s the highest seer rating, that we can get in a brand-new unit.

The highest seer rating you can get on a brand new unit is around 19 or 20 seer, so 19 or 20 seer, and this thing is running at four. That’S a big reason to upgrade. Isn’T it? Yes, sir? All right so Kelly?

Ultimately, the heat from the house is escaping out of the air-conditioning through these little fins or might call it a radiator people understand what that is, and so the heat is coming off of here, right, yes, sir, and then, if we have vines and weeds and and Leaves and stuff growing up around here then what happens? Well, what happens is just like you say, a car radiator as you block air flow. It builds up heat it pauses. The unit to malfunction works harder, so it takes more dollars to make that cold air. As we said earlier, okay, what do we got on this side?

We have two refrigerant lines coming here. What l us about these? Well, what you have here is you: have your your two person line, your liquid line, your suction line, and with this, as you can see over time, this installation is broken down from all of the hot and humid air. So it’s no longer has that insulating factor that at once, David. So this is the cold line, yes, sir, and so we’re making our refrigerant cold we’re sending it inside to another radiator that we have a blower blowing over the cold coil and then sending that cold air to the house.

But this has no insulation whatsoever correct. You can see it’s broken in a number of spots on its way in yeah, and even the parts that do this is not as effective as it once was. All of the outside, covering, as you can see, is peeling away. It’S dry rotting, on top of it. Okay, so this is another place where we’re losing efficiency.

Yes, sir, okay, so Kelly here we have a 17 year old, evaporator, coil and blower. And what do you see here? Well, what you see here is you can see just how dirty the inside of this unit is from not being maintained it. It’S terrible, I mean look at this. Oh gosh and you see dirt.

This is just black with dirt, and this is where your air supply that you’re breathing is running through here correct. As you can see it’s, it has a lot of rust over time from water, just the dirt sitting. On top of at night, like you said your air flows through here across this cold coil and blows through the plenum to the rest of the house and that’s what creates your cold air in your air conditioning in the home mm-hmm? And you see, oh, my gosh. Even on the wires, you got organic growth and on the insulation on the inside of the cabinet, organic growth and the people in the Southside a lurch ease.

I guess they do. The one daughter has pretty bad allergies, and so does the father yeah. So you know it’s really, no wonder: you’re running your entire air supply through this, this really dirty infested environment constantly and that these people obviously haven’t had this service and sometimes no, you could tell it if it’s serviced, one of the things that the air conditioning companies Will generally did will come in you’ll clean the coils? You would not have this build-up just across it. The contactors would not have the corrosion that you can see along the wire, because we would have replaced that and just keeping a better working state so yeah.

They need to have your company start a service program. Yes, they do yeah, okay, so any age, air conditioner needs to be maintained right. Yes, we recommend at least once a year from the time it started, especially if you have extended warranties these days. The manufacturers require manual maintenance on to keep them operating at peak performance. Okay, let’s take a look at the some of the supply girls and see if they’re dirty now Kelly.

We have our return box here and we have this central return, but I see a lot of dirt on here correct. Oh my gosh! This is terrible, that’s where all the and home is being pulled through and, as you can see, there’s just a large buildup of dirt and dust and other items that again, you hope that your filter will catch all, but it won’t catch. All of that. So, in this case, we’re sucking return air from really close to the floor.

Yes, where we can have a lot of dust and so forth, sucking it right into the air conditioner. We have ductwork in the Attic there’s a leakage in the ducts in the attic. We can add dirt in that way, and so all the more reason to have the system maintained, regular basis is very important. Dirt is the number one enemy of air conditioning. Isn’T it it is again it can clog up many items.

You have your standard filters there and they can only catch so much and what gets through remember gets into your air conditioning system gets into that coil, as we saw previously, which has very small, slits and ruin the radiator fins, as we say, very small spaces that Can clog with dirt? Right and again, like you say it’s like a radiator, if you clog it up and you do not maintain it, it just makes you to work that much harder. It’S much for less efficient all right! Well, let’s take a look at some well maintained: high efficiency equipment. The difference sounds good, as you can see here, this grill, you see all the dirt around it.

This is the daughters and has all the allergies, and – and these are some of the causes you know – you’ve got all this dust and allergens. They could really use a duct cleaning as well as a new air conditioning unit. You know people with asthma and allergies, go to the doctor, the allergist and they get prescriptions and take drugs and try to calm down the symptoms and yet the cause right in their house you’re correct, not good. All right now, Kelly you’re, not only doctor Energy Saver but you’re in the air-conditioning business. And how long have you been doing that well, mines, air conditioning heating has been in the business now for forty seven years.

It’S family-owned we’re third generation, so you know a thing or two: yes, sir, their conditioning and we’re in Florida. Right. Yes, all right! So here it is. This thing with sure is pretty: it is a nice big unit.

Isn’T it all right? So the first thing I noticed this is high efficiency. Air conditioning is that it stall. Yes, tell us why the reason being is you have a much larger coil, which is that radiator we spoke about earlier, gives a larger surface for letting that air escape? Also, you have inside two compressors, it’s a two-stage unit for more efficiency.

Okay, so so we have a bigger hot surface area to let the there’s a fan in here that sucks air through the this unit. Here to let the heat escape correct, right, okay and then you said it two compressors a two-stage unit. Yessir knows what that means. What it does is it allows the air conditioner to run at 70 percent of its total capacity when it’s not required to run full-out. So what happens is you can take a four ton unit like this and it’ll run and roughly a three ton?

Okay, so when we say tons, we mean twelve thousand beat what we mean is every time there’s 12,000 BTUs you’re, roughly forty, eight thousand BTUs for a four ton unit that are required, but when you’re heating and cooling your house it doesn’t always require it to run On the high stage to bring the temperatures down so if it’s not real hot outside, it’s a little warm outside correct, alright, so we’re not running you know: full-out we’re just running sort of on a low fuel economy, so to speak. Okay, alright! So so, when it’s really hot out, both compressors will kick in yes, sir all right and what else about this unit? What else you have that you’ll notice? Also on these higher fish teams are very quiet.

You, you don’t even hear them running most of the time outside. None of that with these units a lot of our customers, they they’ll even tell us, you know I can’t even hear it. I have to go outside and check when they first get them to even see if they’re running, because I just don’t believe it can be that quiet, uh-huh beautiful, I understand all heat pumps are air conditioners, but not all air conditioners are heat pumps. All right. I was correct and this one is yes, so what is it heat pump, what a heat pump does.

Is it also? Not only does it cool your house, but it will heat your house in the cold season. Okay, so in the summer we’re taking heat from inside the house – and he is coming off of this and we’re moving it outside, so we can have cool air inside and then in the winter. It’S just reversing. Yes, right we’re taking heat from outside and moving it inside correct all right, so it has to have a reversing valve.

Yes, it has a reversing valve in here which basically just takes it and turns everything the opposite direction, and in doing so it takes that cold. Like you said the freon from before it goes inside a cold line. It then reverses it and takes the heat off the compressors and puts that inside to the coil and allows it to blow that warm air and throughout your house. So we get heating and air conditioning yes forward and reverse all right. So here we are inside with this high efficiency, air conditioning system, heat pump right, yes, and we have our blower here, yes and our evaporator coil our cold coil.

Here correct. We have an electronic air cleaner. Yes, we do, we have a in Florida, you use, would return plenums right nor a return box, as you call it and we have our supply going at the top and our return coming back here. Yes, we do all right. So, let’s take a look: what’s inside, that looks a lot cleaner than the last ones kill.

Yes, I bet us this. One gets maintained, least once the lungs are feeling better already. Actually there we go. Aha, so one thing I noticed right off the bat is that this evaporator coil, the cold coil, is in an a shape, correct, that’s an a coil in this one, all right and what’s the advantage of having an a shape instead of what it gives you gives You two sides for the air to flow across which helps with pulling moisture out of the air by having the two sides for the air to go across, rather than just the one and there’s more cold surface for the air to contact correct to get cool. Just like there’s more air surface outside for the heat to escape, yes, okay, so we’ve got to match the the interior evaporator coil, with a condenser coil outside right.

Yes, we do okay, so and then we have a variable speed, blower here, yes, yes, this is a variable speed unit. What this allows you to do is for humidity control. It can lower the speed of the air as it draws it across the coil to draw more air out of it out of the more water out of the air. Alright. So, in order to get water out of the air, we have to cool the air correct and we have what’s called residence time right worthy.

How much time is the warm humid air in contact with cold surfaces and the longer the amount of time it’s in contact with it, the more water it’s going to condense, on those coils correct, all right so, and a variable speed motor also will just run if You only need a little bit of cool air if it’s not so hot out, right, it’ll run low run at a lower speed. Okay, all right pushes, like you say it less CFM through the house, providing you only what’s required to cool the home instead of just an on and off right. So if we didn’t have a variable speed motor, when the air conditioning came on, it would go. Didn’T stop. I was out and with a variable speed, it ramps up slowly.

It does and then comes down slowly, getting all the cool air out of the ductwork. That’S exactly what it does! Okay. So then, our experience in the house is less drafts and more comfort for us. Yes, all right.

So how about this electronic air cleaner? What this does is it provides you with a couple of things. It provides you with better filtration and a standard. You know through the wall return it’s four inches thick, so it has much more contact surface for air particles to go through okay, so that if it doesn’t Peck get it on the first pass, I mean it has more room to get through. Also, it has being electronic, it has a thin wire, runs crosser, that’s electronically charged, and it helps capture, viruses and other things to there and over time by sitting on electronically charged wire, it will actually kill them so that you don’t pass through these allergens and other Colds and viruses and things through the house to others and help keeping you a little bit healthier, very good, and so here’s our return duck.

We return trunk, our return plenum and then we’re cleaning the air before it goes through the evaporator coil, so that we don’t get dirt clogging up all these little fins here right. So the key is: keep it clean and well. How many seer is this unit uh? This unit should be about a 17 seer unit, 17 seer, and it’s several years old. This is about two years old, okay, um, it’s been running for a few years, as you can see.

Like any unit I mean you have water, so you’re going to have a little bit of rust and things clogged across the metal. You can’t help that, but I don’t see any dirt. No sir maintained, oh so now so now Kelly. This is something that’s important for people to know is that the cost of air conditioning our house is kind of like an iceberg. Yes and the part above the waterline.

We all know that the you know iceberg. Only 10 % of the iceberg is above the waterline and that’s the cost of the equipment itself right and the whole big part below the waterline is the amount of electricity that we’re using through this equipment over the life of the equipment. That is correct, so, with high efficiency equipment, we can cut the our cost over the long term of that big part below the waterline, if we’ll just spend a little bit more on the equipment when we’re buying air conditioning. Yes, it’s very beneficial to do that. Like you say over time, it is upfront cost, but over time it just it with the variable speeds, the two stages.

You will cut the bottom at iceberg in half, sometimes yes, and especially compared to the low efficiency one. We just looked at boy. So if you’re shopping around for air conditioning or heating for that matter and we’re going to take the lowest bidder, we’re going to get the lowest price, you know we’re going to get a low efficiency unit urine and we’re going to just continue to have higher monthly Bills as a result correct, so it’s not wise to look for the lowest price when you’re shopping for air conditioning and heating spend it spend more, get the very highest efficiency that you can get in heating or air conditioning, and you will save money in long run. You will and actually sometimes the not so long run. Yeah like you say, it’s just varies depending on a fish, see the unit the higher the fish see the more you’ll save, so it takes less time to pay it back.

Well, Kelly. I think it’s been fascinating. Looking at the actual equipment between low efficiency and poorly maintained equipment compared to high efficiency equipment, I appreciate it and wish you best of luck here in Florida. Thank you, sir

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