An air conditioner seems as if it cools the air, but it actually makes the space less warm by removing heat from the indoor air and transferring that heat to the outdoor air.
Heat is extracted by passing indoor air across a refrigerant coil in the indoor unit. Refrigerant lines then carry the heat to the outdoor unit, where it is released into the outside air. The cooling cycle continues until the indoor temperature reaches the thermostat setting.
A heat pump is an all-in-one heating and air conditioning system that works year-round to keep you comfortable.
During warmer months, a heat pump works as a normal air conditioner. It extracts heat from inside and transfers it to the outdoor air. In colder weather, however, the process reverses—the unit collects heat from the outdoor air and transfers it inside.
Even when the air outside feels extremely cold, the air still contains some heat. The heat pump pulls the heat from this cold outdoor air and sends it inside to warm the space. When there's not enough heat in the outside air to meet the demand of the thermostat setting, an electric heater supplements the outdoor air to warm the space. Extremely efficient, this process produces two to three times more heat than the energy it uses.
Also, a heat pump can be an effective add-on option to use in conjunction with an existing gas furnace. With this dual-fuel option, the two systems share the heating load, but never function at the same time. Each system operates when it is most cost effective. The heat pump will be the primary heating and cooling system. However, when the temperature drops below the heat pump's ability to operate as efficiently as the gas furnace, the gas furnace will take over until the temperature rises enough for the heat pump to operate more efficiently.
"Variable speed" refers to the fan motor inside the air handler — the indoor part of an air conditioner that moves cooled or heated air throughout the ductwork. An air handler is usually a furnace or a blower coil.
Unlike conventional single-speed motors, a variable speed motor runs at a wide range of speeds to precisely control the flow of heated and cooled air throughout the space. Better airflow control has several benefits:
Variable speed motors can actually save you money on your energy bills, as they consume less electricity than standard motors.
Variable speed technology also means you will gain air conditioning efficiency or SEER.
Variable speed motors are excellent for zoning, which allows you to customize your comfort in different areas and control your energy bills.
A variable speed motor can also help clean the air. When the fan is in constant operation (indicated by the "Fan" setting on your thermostat), the motor will continue to slowly circulate air, allowing filters to capture more contaminants.
Two-stage cooling means the air conditioner or heat pump has a compressor with two levels of operation: high for hot summer days and low for milder days. Since the low setting is adequate to meet household-cooling demands 80% of the time, a two-stage unit runs for longer periods and produces more even temperatures.
Longer cooling cycles also translate to quieter, more efficient operation and enhanced humidity control. Compared to a single-stage unit, a two-stage air conditioner or heat pump can remove twice as much moisture from the air. This is important because when moisture levels are high, there's a higher potential for mold and other pollutant problems.
A zoning system is designed for the many ways you use your building. Maybe you're caught up in coworker "thermostat wars." Or perhaps you have unoccupied areas that do not need conditioning. A Lennox® zoning system allows you to divide your business into separate areas, giving you the comfort and control you've always wanted.
The main benefits of commercial zoning are:
Zoning meets the specific temperature and airflow requirements of one area, without affecting other areas.
A properly designed zoning system can save you hundreds of dollars in energy costs each year.
Zoning divides a space into different areas and comfort into different levels, giving you more choices and control than ever before.
When integrated with variable speed and/or two-stage HVAC systems, zoning allows your heating and cooling equipment to deliver peak performance and efficiency without continually operating at peak capacity. Lower speeds mean lower sound levels.
SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is a system for rating the efficiency of cooling equipment. The higher the SEER rating, the less your unit will cost to operate.
HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) is a measurement similar to SEER, but it measures the efficiency of the heating portion of a heat pump.
Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) This measures the cooling output of a unit divided by its total energy consumption, measured during continuous operation at a given operating condition (95 degrees or full load).
Integrated Energy Efficiency Ratio (IEER) This measure expresses cooling part-load EER efficiency for commercial unitary air conditioning and heat pump equipment on the basis of weighted operation at various load capacities.