There are trends in every business, and HVAC is no exception. The trends this year should be no great surprise- they emphasize energy efficiency and home automation! 

Green Building and Renewable Energy ideas grow in popularity.

There were changes made in regulations that require new HVAC systems to use low global warming potential refrigerants, in other words, goodbye to Freon! While these regulations took effect in 2015, it means that when many older systems break, they will need to be replaced by systems that run on the newer refrigerant type, R-401A, also referred to as Puron. Freon is no longer being manufactured, and this will have an effect in the repairs that can be made to your home HVAC system, your car- even your refrigerator.

The good news is that the newer air conditioning models are more reliable and efficient because of these changes. The new coolant can absorb and release more heat than freon, and this means your air conditioning compressor can run cooler, reducing the risk of compressor burnout due to overheating. In addition, new lubricants are being used, reducing the wear and tear on the compressor, meaning these new ultra-efficient units should outperform the old units and be cheaper to run as well.

When you couple these new energy-efficient units with the next ongoing trend in Home Automation, consumers should see a palpable reduction in energy costs, especially in air conditioning season.

Home Automation Improves

Home automation used to be limited to a few specialty thermostats like the Nest, which was the first thermostat that got consumers excited about home energy and its potential. Now almost every company has smart thermostat capabilities available or integrated into its equipment.

Why is this important and what does it do?

A smart thermostat, like the Kumo Cloud used with Mitsubishi’s Hyperheat ductless systems, allows you to control the temperature at home from an app, no matter where you are in the world. This means you can keep the heat low in the house while you’re at work, and turn it on to make sure things are toasty by the time you get home. You’ll never be able to forget to reset your thermostat when leaving on vacation, either- you can do it from your phone whenever you want! Many of these systems also let you print out a report each month, and let you know how well you’re doing at saving energy (and money) which people find really motivating- especially when it comes with lower energy bills each month.

The ability to have a finer control over heating and cooling- and even more so if the home has zones of heating and cooling- leads to smaller bills and happier homeowners. And don’t underestimate convenience! We have a smart thermostat in our home, and I like the ability to be lazy- I can control the system even while in bed, to make sure I’m perfectly comfortable.

Increasing Comfort when Remodeling/Renovating

More people are deciding to simply remodel or renovate their existing homes rather than move, and this often means having to find solutions for basements, bonus rooms, sunrooms, and the like. Even the tiny home movement is spurring innovation in different heating and cooling systems, allowing more flexibility in solutions available for those hard to heat and cool spaces.

Innovations like the mini-split or ductless systems, long used overseas to add air conditioning to building with no central unit, are really finding a central place in the US market. These heat pump units can act as heaters or air conditioning, and many of them are ultra-efficient, letting them operate well down to -13F, something that could not be said about previous generations of heat pumps. Ductless systems are perfectly situated  to help create more comfort with greater efficiency, and allow the adding of additional zones of comfort to a home, running independently from the main HVAC system. Many of the units are also expandable, allowing a homeowner flexibility about adding additional zones of comfort to their home as funds allow.

The combination of increased efficiency, home automation and the ability to customize heating and cooling throughout a home means that there are more and better choices than ever available. Whether you need a whole home solution or just cool off that hard to heat or cool space, the new trends and technology available in HVAC means greater choice for consumers. These choices bring increased efficiency and lower operating costs to the fore, saving money while saving the environment at the same time- a win-win for everyone.

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