Air conditioning is nothing new; in fact, the chemistry behind air conditioning was first discovered during the 1800s. However, like many of the appliances we take for granted in modern society, recent advances in technology have changed the nature of this tool that has made our homes and offices so much more comfortable, especially in Jacksonville, Florida.
Basic air conditioning was simple: a button to turn it on and off, and probably a second control for the fan speed. However, advances in technology have made the programmable thermostat a common feature on air conditioning units, allowing homeowners to adjust their air conditioning unit to maintain a perfectly cooled environment. These thermostats also make AC more energy efficient because they can be programmed to cool only the parts of your home or workplace that you are using or to turn off while people are out of the office or away from home.
Another improvement in recent years has been a focus on cleaner air, both in the way that the air conditioner itself operates and in the functions performed by the unit.
- Original air conditioners used Freon gases – either chlorofluorocarbon, hyrdofluorocarbon, or hytrogenated chlorofluorocarbon as the primary cooling agent. These gases are toxic in and of themselves.
- Newer air conditioners have replaced these standard gases with ones that are less dangerous to the environment, and as of 2010 the less dangerous gases will be standard in all new units.
- While HVAC units used to simply heat or cool air, the latest models can also dehumidify and filter air to improve air quality and even reduce the suffering of people with allergies.
Emphasis on efficiency
Filtering air and getting rid of harmful Freon is not the only way that cooling your home or office has changed. New AC units are also more energy efficient.
- As of January 2006, the lowest acceptable SEER (energy efficiency rating from the Energy Star board) for new central air conditioning systems was increased to 13 from its previous low of 10.
- More units now use fans that continue to blow after the compressor turns off, taking advantage of the left over cool air that would otherwise remain unused
Air conditioning is something that we often take for granted, especially in Jacksonville Florida and the surrounding areas. However, each time we enjoy the feeling of cool air indoors on a hot summer day, we should take a moment to appreciate the ways that AC has been made more energy efficient and less harmful to the environment due to recent improvements.