In the grand scheme of things, air conditioners haven't been around that long. The first modern air conditioner was invented only a little more than 100 years ago, and the practice of putting air conditioners into homes wasn't common until many years later. However, air conditioners have made a major impact on society. Even the ways that homes are built has changed due to the advances and popularity of air conditioning. But the air conditioner itself isn't done evolving yet. Inventors are working on making air conditioners that are more powerful, more efficient, more convenient, and more environmentally friendly than ever before. Check out what the future of air conditioning may have in store for you by the next time you're ready to upgrade your home air conditioner.
Air Conditioners Made from Magnets
Did you know that air conditioners can be made from magnets? This is due to a reaction known as the magnetocaloric effect, where magnetic items heat up after exposure to a magnetic field, and cool back down when the magnetic field is removed. The cooling down portion of the effect can be used to cool your home if the reaction is strong enough. Scientists have created magnetic materials that can produce a large enough effect to significantly cool an area, and they do it quickly enough so that these magnetic materials can be effectively used as an air conditioning device.
The major advantage of magnetic air conditioners over the air conditioners currently in use is that magnetic air conditioners are environmentally friendly. They don't contain the pollutants known as hydrochlorofluorocarbons that conventional air conditioners contain, and they're expected to use significantly less electricity than conventional air conditioners.
Highly Efficient Swamp Coolers
If you live in a hot and dry region, you've probably encountered a swamp cooler at some point, or you may even have had one yourself. Swamp coolers use evaporating water to cool the air, because the evaporating water takes the heat with it when it goes. In the process, the air also gets humidified. However, while this method of cooling is effective in hot, arid regions, it's not as useful when the humidity is high.
Enter DEVap (desiccant-enhanced evaporative) cooling machines that build on the general idea of swamp coolers, but make them more efficient and more useful across a range of climates. DEVap coolers use water-absorbing materials called desiccants to control the humidity when warm air is drawn across a chilled coil, creating water that then evaporates. This makes these machines useful when cooling is desired and humidity is not desired. What's even more impressive is that these cooling machines can do the job of a conventional air conditioner using up to 90% less energy.
Cool Sounding Air Conditioners
Magnetic air conditioners and DEVap coolers are both significantly different from what most people think of when they think of air conditioning, which may make homeowners slower to adapt the new technology even when it becomes widely available. But what if the existing style of air conditioners could be modified in such a way that they become markedly more efficient, without changing the design of the air conditioner so much that adaptation becomes difficult?
Sound waves might be the key to accomplishing this feat. Thermoacoustic air conditioners are essentially built and operated the same way as conventional air conditioners, except that instead of a mechanical compressor, they contain a thermoacoustic sound compressor. Thermoacoustic sound compressors use high intensity sound waves to condense gases, creating heat, or expand gases, cooling the air. Using sound waves to create hot or cold air may sound strange, but thermoacoustic air compressors can do the same work as mechanical compressors – but at triple the efficiency level. That higher efficiency level means that these air conditioners will cost less to operate and waste less energy.
It's always a good idea to look into the new options on the market before replacing your old air conditioner with the same old thing. The more efficient your air conditioner is, the more money you save, and the more you reduce your carbon footprint. Ask your air conditioning service professional to tell you about the latest energy efficient air conditioners available for your home.