• Whats New for 2011 – HVAC Systems

    Things change with each passing year in the HVAC industry and in terms of what’s new for 2011 — HVAC systems are becoming more efficient and cleaner.  In this overview, we’ll look at that development as well as other news and notes for the changing HVAC industry in 2011.

    High Efficiency is More Important: With the renewed focus on energy conservation, all the top manufacturers of HVAC systems are stepping up their efforts to produce high-efficiency condensing units for central air conditioner and heat pump systems.  Condensing units as high as 22 SEER are now available and no doubt that number will be surpassed in the coming months.  Newly installed condensing units are typically replacing those with SEER ratings of 8-12 so it is obvious to see that operational cost savings are as high as 50% or even more.

    One other positive note besides energy savings is that as new models come on the market with higher SEER ratings it tends to drive down the cost of those in the 13 SEER to 18 SEER range.  These are already among the most popular models and now they are more affordable.  It’s a great time to install a new condensing unit or entire split system for these reasons.

    Change in the Tax Credit: While the tax credit isn’t as big this year as in past years, a credit up to $500 for qualifying HVAC equipment is still in place.  It is expected to run out at the end of the year and not be renewed, though that could change.  If your system is older and has already had significant repair issues, choosing to replace it now may save you $500 that might not be available this time next year.

    An Emphasis on Indoor Air Quality: IAQ, or indoor air quality, is a hot topic in the HVAC industry and more homeowners are becoming conscious of the need for healthier indoor air.  Homes are wrapped tight these days so there is less air exchange from outside.  This reduces energy costs because less is lost through leaks and drafts.  But it means that indoor air needs better filtering and purifying.  Advanced filters and air purification systems already exist, though more are coming onto the market each year.  The major change is in consumer’s increased demand for purer air, so purifying filters and systems are being added to more units than ever before.

    R-22 is Being Phased Out: Older R-22 refrigerant is known to cause depletion of the ozone layer and its production will soon come to an end.  Most manufacturers already use R-410A refrigerant, also sold under the trade name Puron, but R-22 systems are still available.  That will be ending soon and all systems will use R-410A that does not contain chlorine and does not deplete ozone.  The byproduct of its use, however, is a greenhouse gas.  Expect next-generation refrigerants to produce less greenhouse gases when used.

    Conclusion
    If you’ve been wondering whats new for 2011 – HVAC systems are more efficient, less harmful to the environment, and feature filters and accessories that are improving indoor air quality.   Discuss these issues with your HVAC contractor and find a system that might improve your home’s climate and your family’s comfort.

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