Back to the Future: Staying Comfortable in 1985 and 2015
Life may seem more complicated today than 30 years ago, but there’s no question that technological advances have made it easier to stay comfortable and safe in your home while conserving energy. Here’s a look at how far we’ve come.
Environmentally friendly air conditioning
In the 1980s, an international treaty emerged to eliminate numerous substances that were deemed harmful to our ozone, including R-22 refrigerant (Freon). Freon is considered a greenhouse gas and harms the environment when released into the air. That’s why it is slowly being phased out and will no longer be manufactured after 2020.
Because of the impending phaseout, less Freon is being made. This has resulted in rapidly dwindling supplies—and skyrocketing prices.
Are you losing Freon?
Some people need to add more Freon because the contractor who installed their system did not properly charge it with refrigerant (about 7 out of 10 systems in the United States are not charged properly).
In older systems, Freon can start leaking due to years of wear and tear, which causes valves, seals or metal components in the air conditioning coil to fail. Even a small leak can reduce efficiency dramatically and shorten equipment life. If you lose too much Freon, your system cannot generate cool air.
If you’re not sure what type of refrigerant your air conditioning system has or you have not had maintenance done recently, please contact us. We’ll tell you about your options in new systems. All AC systems we install use an economical and environmentally friendly refrigerant instead of expensive and scarce Freon.
Decades ago, builders started constructing homes that were more air tight so cooled and heated air wouldn’t escape because of gaps and other defects, like poor insulation. But a side effect of this was that ventilation was limited and stale air got trapped inside. More problems were caused by the products people were bringing into their homes. Carpeting, disinfectants, fragrances, cosmetics and other common household items all were found to emit harmful toxins.
Since that time, there has been a troubling rise in the rates of respiratory illnesses like asthma. At one point, it was believed that a primary cause was outdoor air pollution. But more studies confirmed that the real problem was indoor air pollution.
Today, the home comfort industry has techniques for analyzing indoor air quality, including the collection of air samples and computer modeling of airflow inside a home. This allows companies like us to understand the reasons the air inside a home is unhealthy and helps us to offer strategies for improvement, including air cleaning systems, air purifiers and humidification systems. Stale indoor air can also be replaced with fresh, clean air from outdoors by a device called an air-to-air exchanger. Please contact us if you would like us to analyze your home’s indoor air.
More energy efficient than ever
Bigger and louder is definitely not better in 2015. Today’s technology has enabled manufacturers to produce furnaces, air conditioners and heat pumps that are not only smaller and exceptionally quiet, but highly efficient as well.
The high-efficiency heating and cooling systems of today use substantially less energy—30% or more—than the less efficient models from the 1980s. These modern systems have gone a long way to making a home more energy efficient and, as a result, more environmentally friendly.