Have you ever tried sprinting to catch up on speed? Just to figure out that you still didn’t win the race because you exhausted all your energy in that one sprint and you then were too tired to finish out the race. Don’t you wish there was some sort of device that can make you run a consistent pace without having to sprint to catch up and make your pace constant and less exhausting?
Inverter technology is that device for your A/C! An inverter is a gadget that changes alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC). That enables your device to work at variable speeds so the compressor doesn’t need to be all-on or all-off all the time because the AC (alternating current, in this context) can be adjusted to a desired frequency. Not having the thing power up and power down however many times per day is a huge improvement.
-Uses 30-50% less power
-Reaches the desired temperature much more quickly
-Reduces start-up time; avoids demand spikes
-Eliminates crazy temperature fluctuations
-On board diagnostics for better trouble shooting and protection
Best of all… The improved reliability!! With the addition of power electronic controls, variable speed technology is able to protect itself from failure in ways traditional fixed systems are not capable of. Because the motor control drive receives power input from the utility line before sending power to the compressor, the drive acts as a shield to protect the compressor from harmful circumstances. Additionally, the drive is constantly monitoring and adjusting the power required from the compressor motor to ensure optimal compressor and system operation.
*For example, if the drive senses an unusual torque load on the motor because of adverse outdoor conditions—which if not corrected can lead to failure—it will reduce power to the compressor and proactively prevent it from damage.
How does it work?
Variable speed systems work by connecting a motor control drive to the compressor and then connecting the line input power from the utility to the drive. The drive uses frequency modulation to adjust power output of the compressor motor enabling it to speed up or slow down according to the heating or cooling load in the home. This ability to modulate compressor capacity enables many of the advantages of variable speed technology including improved efficiency and comfort.
*For example, if the temperature outside is 80 F and the thermostat setpoint is 72 F, the compressor only needs to overcome the 8 F delta to maintain optimal comfort for the homeowner. In these light-load conditions, the compressor may only need to run at 30% or 40% of full speed to maintain 72 F indoors. In traditional fixed-speed systems the compressors are either on 100% or off completely. In those situations, the system will cycle the compressor on and off as needed to match the setpoint as close as possible. This leads to power losses because the energy required to start up a non-variable speed compressor is much more than the energy required to gradually start a variable speed compressor and keep it running at 30% of full speed. This high efficiency operation during light-load conditions is the major efficiency advantage of variable speed technology, so the improved comfort comes from precise temperature control, precise humidity control and extra capacity during hot or cold weather conditions (in heat pumps)
What will it cost me?
The lifetime cost to power an air conditioner is almost three times the cost to buy one! Since many inverter-based air conditioners are heat pumps, that gives them even more of an edge. Inverted-based technology costs more upfront, but proponents say you’ll quickly realize the initial investment through operational savings. In addition— listen up, People in the coastal states! — a two-speed system does a better job of removing humidity because it’s running most of the time, albeit at a lower speed, and not shutting off before the air is de-moisturized.
Inverter air conditioners and inverter heat pumps are considered the most efficient air conditioners and heat pumps available on the market for conventional systems and for air source air conditioners and air-source heat pumps the inverter air conditioners and inverter heat pumps come close to matching the efficiency of Geothermal heat pump systems.
In fact, some inverter air conditioners and inverter heat pumps beat some Geothermal heat pump systems when matched up for efficiency.