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The incredible advantage of high efficiency central air conditioners and heat pumps

Do high efficiency air conditioners and heat pumps (inverter drives) really reduce indoor humidity and clean your indoor air in Florida?

Photo courtesy of Green Works AC
Photo courtesy of Green Works AC

This article is Sponsored Content by Chris Cherry, Green Works AC LLC Stuart, FL

Do high efficiency air conditioners and heat pumps (inverter drives) really reduce indoor humidity and clean your indoor air in Florida?

I would like to start off by explaining the three types of residential air conditioners before getting into the details of the inverter drive air conditioners when choosing a professional air conditioner replacement

The first and most common type is a single stage system. The energy consumption of this AC is the highest of all three and has SEER2 ratings from 14-16. This is the most economical budget friendly AC system replacement. I’m trying my best here to explain how this system works; think of the thermostat as the switch. Once the temperature in the home is above the setpoint on the thermostat, the air conditioner switches on full speed and runs until the desired temperature is satisfied. When it runs, it runs on full throttle. It’s either On or Off. This is how a single stage system operates. This system will do the job and cool your home properly. However, with this system you may find yourself sitting in your home feeling warm and then the air conditioner kicks on and you feel a big blast of air cooling you down until you are comfortable, and the AC kicks off. This cycle will repeat over and over again, and you will experience these huge swings in comfort.

This single stage AC system can also cause short cycling when home improvements such as attic insulation or impact windows were added. Lets say your home’s original heat load calculations called for 36000BTU cooling capacity. Now you replaced your old windows and swapped them to impact windows and added icing in the attic (spray foam insulation).

It’s very possible that the heat load of the house dropped significantly and now you need 24000BTUs to cool your home.

Since every 12000BTU equals 1 Ton, we went from a 3 Ton AC to a 2 Ton AC. Since no one down sizes their Air Conditioner as a result of those improvements, the system will more than likely start short cycling.

What is short cycling and why can it cause problems?

Short cycling occurs when the AC doesn’t run long enough to extract humidity. It  turns on, runs for one to two minutes and shuts off.

As a result, now the home is cold but humid. It’s a very uncomfortable feeling. This can be dangerous! High humidity within the home can cause health issues, foul odors, growth of bacteria especially in the duct system and much more. I don’t even want to go there, I’ve seen crazy stuff.

Let’s keep reading and soon you will see the benefits of the two stage AC.

Two stage air conditioner

The energy consumption of this AC will be slightly lower than the single stage and has SEER2 ratings from 15-18. This AC replacement will have a slightly higher price tag. This system operates similarly, however instead of only being able to switch from full power to off this system can operate at about half speed as well. The thermostat will be like a three position switch, high, low, and off. The two stage system will start at half speed reducing the huge surge to kick on. After the system runs for a few minutes, the AC will then switch to full speed. Once the AC has been running at full speed and the temperature in the home is getting nearer the setpoint (usually 2F from target temperature) it will then switch back to low speed to finish out the cycle, letting the system run for a longer period removing more humidity. This will reduce humidity within the home creating a dryer environment and better air quality.

Remember, the air conditioner can only clean the air and dehumidify when it’s running.

Inverter drive air conditioners

These systems have  true variable speed compressors (not two stage compressors).

Now let me get into the inverter and its amazing benefits. This professional air conditioner replacement will have the highest pricing, but to some, the benefits of an AC replacement with an inverter drive completely outweigh the investment. The energy consumption of this AC is extremely low and has SEER2 ratings from 18-28. The energy efficiency of this system alone is astronomical. Some of my clients say they saved up to 50% on electricity to cool the home. Most of the time they are paired with communicating thermostats and a variable speed blower meaning the blower that circulates the air can ramp up and down, and works in conjunction with the compressor and outdoor fan motor to be on the optimal speed. 

The inverter drive in this AC system is what allows it to achieve this. Instead of sending the power directly to the compressor. The inverter drive is powered by 240V Alternating current. The drive itself converts AC voltage to DC voltage. Since the thermostat is constantly communicating with the inverter drive this will achieve the perfect output of the blower, compressor and outdoor fan. This system will hardly ever shut off, instead it will slow down to a very low speed. This feature makes for extremely low sound levels from the outdoor unit as well as the indoor unit. Some say they never even hear it anymore.  

Remember, ventilation is the fourth principle of air conditioning. Longer run time equals more ventilation, more dehumidification and better air quality. AC system replacement with a new inverter drive is done it can also achieve an output on some models of over 120% of its rated capacity when needed. The inverter drive AC will create the lowest humidity levels in your home as the longer an AC system is running the more humidity it will remove. This creates a dryer environment and the best comfort you could ever imagine. Remember reducing humidity in your home is essential here in Southeast Florida. Most of my clients that have installed an inverter drive AC say that they can keep the setpoint temperature higher than they previously set it due to the lower humidity levels. Feels like temperature is calculated by the percentage of relative humidity and temperature. 

The health benefits are also magnificent. The longer the AC system is running the more it will filter the air. Indoor humidity levels between 40%-60% prevent the spread of illness because they do not give the contaminants an environment to grow. These ideal humidity levels can also help with sinusitis and asthma as well as bronchitis. According to some, insects and bugs thrive on ideal temperature and high humidity.  The inverter drive air conditioner can keep the humidity levels in the perfect range. When choosing an AC system replacement this is a remarkable choice as it gives you the best, energy consumption, comfort, filtration, and yields health benefits.

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