For what seems like a very long time, most of the improvements in home cooling systems have all come from relatively minor enhancements to existing air conditioning technology. In some cases, significant energy savings have also been achieved by making use of more advanced concepts in cooling, but the actual cooling systems have largely retained their traditional looks throughout all of these improvements.
Recently some truly innovative cooling systems and accessories have appeared which may have a major impact in the marketplace, and attract customers with their remarkable efficiencies. Here are a few of the most exciting developments.
Nest Learning Thermostat
Learning thermostats have the capability to remember a user’s preferred settings at various times of the day. For instance, during a hot stretch of summer where heat and humidity dominate, it might be worthwhile to have a cooler temperature kick in at 8:00 on Saturday morning as the household wakes up. The ‘learning’ that this thermostat is capable of includes the monitoring of heat and humidity, and making appropriate adjustments to the home cooling system. This cutting edge thermostat can also be integrated with your cellphone so it can be controlled from anywhere, even if you are out of town on business, or the whole family is on vacation. The precision control of the home cooling environment should theoretically result in significant savings of energy and money.
For many years the standard refrigerant used in air conditioning systems has been R-22 (freon), and although that is being phased out in favor of refrigerants less harmful to the ozone layer, these replacements would still contain some fluorocarbons. New natural refrigerants like ammonia and propane have been tested which have far less Global Warming Potential (GWP), ranking at 1 on the GWP scale, whereas fluorocarbon-based refrigerants rank in the 1,000’s. While this will not result in cooler temperatures in the home or any kind of energy efficiency, it will certainly be a major boon to the environment, and be much less harmful to the ozone layer of our atmosphere.
This is quickly becoming a very popular technology for home cooling, and in the coming years it is expected to become even more of a hot button in the industry. In a general sense, this technology is based on using the earth’s own energy to cool the home, which of course means it has a virtually inexhaustible supply of energy.
In essence, a geothermal system operates by making use of a ‘carrier fluid’ like water, which circulates through pipes in the ground and absorbs relatively cooler air from the ground, then transfers that cooler air into the home. These systems can be expensive to install, but because they are so much more efficient than traditional systems, that cost can be recovered within a couple years.
DEVap stands for dessicant-enhanced evaporative air conditioner, and its ability to lower energy usage compared to a traditional cooling system is astonishing. It operates by separating warm air into dual streams, one of which gets dried out, while the other is humidified. When these streams are re-combined, it automatically creates cool, dry air for home usage, without the use of any kind of refrigerant. This technology is still in its early commercial usage phase, but it has enormous potential.
Using These Innovations
In order to make use of any of these exciting innovations in the field of home cooling, the best approach is to contact your professional Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) technician and ask about the particular technology that interests you. Your HVAC specialist can discuss options with you, and advise you on what might work well to keep your home cool throughout the warm, humid days of summer time.