All of the newest and most efficient air conditioners and heat pumps from the industry’s leading companies and brands have one thing in common – a variable-speed compressor.
Unlike single-speed or even double-speed systems, a variable-speed compressor can precisely and automatically adjust its energy use and output based on the difference between the thermostat setpoint and exterior conditions. Jon Winkler, senior research engineer at National Renewable Energy Laboratory, says variable-speed technology allows cooling systems to modulate the compressor speed to better hone in on the cooling load of the home without having to cycle on and off.
“Typical air-conditioners cycle on and off to meet cooling load, whereas variable speed systems can adjust the compressor speed to perfectly match the home condition." he says. "This is where the real energy savings are because variable-speed systems have higher efficiencies at part-load conditions.”
In addition to energy savings, the longer and slower operation of variable-speed technology allows for quieter operation and better, more consistent airflow to components like air purifiers and humidifiers, which can further enhance overall air quality and comfort, Winkler adds. This is especially beneficial to homeowners living humid areas that often deal with condensation build-up and floor warping.
The seven whole-home central air units and heat pumps below also have maximum Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) ratings of 19.5 or above, and most are Energy Star Most Efficient certified.
Many also incorporate smart control functionality, whether through a connected app or smart thermostat. This allows home owners to precisely adjust their home’s temperature from anywhere in the world, and to integrate their air handler into their chosen smart home network.
The Amana AVXC20 Air Conditioner offers up to 24.5 SEER energy-efficiency performance and a cooling capacity of up to 23,600-53,000 BTU/h, depending on the unit model. It features a high-efficiency variable speed inverter technology compressor, high-efficiency variable speed ECM condenser fan motor, and a high-density foam compressor sound blanket and sound control top. The unit meets the 2010 Florida Building code unit integrity requirement for hurricane-force winds, and carries a lifetime unit replacement limited warranty and 10-year limited warranty on parts. amana-hac.com
The Infinity 20 Air Conditioner with Greenspeed Intelligence offers up to 20.5 SEER and 15.5 EER energy-efficiency performance. The Greenspeed intelligence system matches the performance of the unit’s variable-speed compressor to the needs and conditions of the home, which allows the unit to operate near-continuously and serve as a dehumidifier during the summer months.
The Infinity 20’s compressor sound blanket and silencer system enable sound output is as low as 58 decibels. It uses non-ozone-depleting Puron as a refrigerant. carrier.com
The Coleman Echelon AC21 Two-Stage Air Conditioner carries an Energy Star Most Efficient rating at 20 SEER, and utilizes inverter-driven variable capacity technology to adjust operation speed based on a given home’s conditions and load requirements. Features include a display of refrigerant pressures and system charge status on the corner of the unit, sound containment system, and EcoTrak fine blower operation control. The Echelon AC21 seamlessly integrates with the firm’s Echelon Hx thermostat, which allows home owners to control any integrated systems via smartphone or wall-mounted touch screen. colemanac.com
The XV19 TruComfort Variable Speed Low Profile Heat Pump operates at up to 19.5 SEER, 13.0 EER and 11.5 HSPF. It is designed for ultra-quiet operation, with minimum/maximum sound pressure levels of 43 to 57 db(A). Its TruComfort technology allows for fine-tuned control with 300 to 700 stages or speeds, depending on its tonnage.
With a maximum depth of 18 inches, the unit is compatible with zero lot line applications. Copper tubing and aluminum fin coils are included as standard, with epoxy-coated coils available for installations within 1 mile of saltwater. trane.com
With a SEER rating of 26, the Lennox XC25 High-Efficiency Air Conditioning System has been recognized as one of the most efficient Energy Star certified products of 2017. The system allows homeowners to adjust the unit’s output in increments as precise as 1%, and Climate IQ technology enables the XC25 to automatically adjust its airspeed and output in response to climate conditions. The system is installed with the company’s iComfort smart thermostat, and may be combined with SunSource solar modules to reduce household cooling bills. lennox.com
The RA20 Prestige Series Air Conditioner offers a minimum of 20 SEER and 13 EER energy-efficiency and system performance across all models, and is EcoNet, Energy Star, and AHRI certified. The unit’s variable speed compressor automatically adjusts its speed and output based on changing outdoor conditions, and can support an overdrive cooling load of up to 107 degrees Fahrenheit. The cabinet is designed with curb appeal in mind, with a composite base pan that serves to dampen sound and resist corrosion. Homeowners may control their RA20 unit through Rheem’s EcoNet Smart Home System. rheem.com
The DZ20VC unitary heat pump system incorporates Daikin’s “Daikin Inside” variable-speed inverter scroll compressor, which provides up to 21 SEER and up to 10 HSPF of energy performance. The inverter scroll compressor design incorporates fewer moving parts than comparable system in order to provide dependability and reduce overall noise. Daikin Inside Intelligence consistently monitors the system for issues, and provides users and contractors with detailed diagnostic information when necessary. Its boost mode, which is field-selectable, gives users the option to automatically increase the unit’s compressor speed during unusually high operation loads. daikincomfort.com