An air conditioner (AC) is the outside unit in a conventional heating and cooling system. It provides the cooling side of your comfort package. The efficiency of an AC is measured by SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) rating. The higher the SEER, the more efficient you unit will be to operate. The minimum SEER rating allowable by federal law is currently 13 SEER.
The chemical used to create the cooling element of an AC is called refrigerant (also referred to as Freon by many). There are currently two types of refrigerant. One is called R22, the other is called R410A. The government, in order to protect the ozone, is phasing out all refrigerants which contain chlorine. When refrigerant leaks into the air from a leak in a system, the chlorine in the refrigerant attaches itself to oxygen molecules. R12 refrigerant (already phased out) stays in the ozone for 99 years! R22, currently the most prevalent type of refrigerant in use, stays in the ozone for 25 years. As of 2010, R22 will not be approved for new units and production will be limited. At this time, R410A will be the approved type of refrigerant for new units from 2010 forward. This type of refrigerant is available today. Because of current supply and demand patterns, R22 is more cost effective today and R410A is more expensive. However, as the new regulations take place in 2010, this will become reversed - again, due to supply and demand. We encourage anyone considering a new unit to investigate R410A to protect yourself in the years when your new system becomes older and may need to be charged with refrigerant.
Please access our glossary to familiarize yourself with terms associated with ACs. To review individual features of different models available, please go to www.americanstandardair.com.