With summer heat temperatures increasing in South Texas year after year, San Antonio homeowners rely on essential air conditioning upgrades to keep homes comfortable during the sweltering months. 2024 promises to bring important changes to HVAC standards, technologies, and incentives that residents would do well to understand when budgeting for new systems. Taking advantage of the latest energy savings programs, equipment enhancements, and climate controls this year will make staying cool much more affordable. Here are the top HVAC improvements San Antonio homeowners should factor in as warmer seasons approach.

1. New Energy Efficiency Standards

New regulations taking effect in 2024 will require any newly installed HVAC systems to meet higher minimum energy efficiency standards. Specifically, new air conditioning units will need to achieve a minimum SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating for cooling performance and new heating systems will need to meet a higher AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating for heating performance. By raising the minimum standards, homeowners can expect new HVAC systems installed during 2024 to potentially lead to lower monthly energy bills compared to older units.

2. Phase Out of R-22 Refrigerant

The EPA is continuing the phase-out of R-22 refrigerant, an HCFC refrigerant that is considered harmful to the ozone layer. Most AC systems installed before 2010 utilized R-22 refrigerant which will no longer be produced as of 2020 due to environmental concerns. Homeowners replacing older AC systems in 2024 will likely need to switch new systems over to alternative refrigerants like R-410a or R-407c, which have much lower ozone depletion potential. Professional HVAC contractors can ensure the right refrigerant is used when installing new systems.

3. Expanded Smart Thermostat Rebates

To help San Antonio homeowners better manage energy costs, Air Authority, A Riteway Service Company is expanding rebate programs in 2024 for qualifying smart thermostats. The thermostats use WiFi and algorithms to optimize heating and cooling temperatures throughout the day and night. Eligible smart thermostats like models from Nest, Ecobee, and Honeywell have rebates from $50 to $85 off purchase costs. Combined with the enhanced efficiency of smart temperature adjustments, the rebates make upgrading to a connected thermostat very appealing.

4. Solar Power Integration Incentives

New incentives are being introduced in 2024 to encourage integrating solar power with HVAC systems. Adding rooftop solar panels provides renewable energy that can be stored to help power air conditioning units. Any excess solar energy gets fed back into the grid. Solar contractors will be able to install panels specifically sized to handle the electrical demands of HVAC systems. Special rebates to tie the systems together make going solar much more affordable.

5. Air Authority, A Riteway Service Company Time of Use Rate Changes

Air Authority, A Riteway Service Company continues to adjust its time-of-use rate plans to incentivize homeowners to reduce electricity usage during peak afternoon hours in the summer. The plans provide discounted kilowatt-per-hour rates during the night and early morning hours. This makes it ideal to program thermostats, pool pumps, and appliances to run more heavily during off-peak hours. By shifting usage, homeowners can take advantage of lower electricity rates to run HVAC systems without disrupting comfort.

6. Air Filtration Upgrades

Indoor air quality has become a prime concern for many homeowners in recent years. Upgrading HVAC filters to a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) 13 rating or higher can greatly reduce airborne particulates, germs, and allergens. Air Authority, A Riteway Service Company is introducing rebates in 2024 to install MERV 13+ filters or other enhanced filtration systems like HEPA filters. Better filtration leads to cleaner indoor air while still allowing sufficient airflow for cooling.

7. Ductwork Leakage Testing

Leaky ductwork results in higher energy bills by losing cooled and heated air before it reaches living spaces. Both Air Authority, A Riteway Service Company and SAWS are now offering free home ductwork leakage testing to identify issues. If leaks or gaps are discovered, professional repairs covered by the program will be scheduled to fix ductwork at no extra charge. Sealing ducts can lead to HVAC systems running much more efficiently to maintain comfortable temperatures.

8. Smart Vents for Room-By-Room Control

Smart vent systems are an emerging technology that promises to give homeowners greater precision in heating and cooling different rooms. The systems utilize automatic vents placed on ductwork throughout a home and tied into a smart thermostat hub. Based on remote temperature sensors in each room, the vents can redirect air as needed to meet set temperatures rather than forcing the entire HVAC system to use more energy. As smart vents become more readily available in 2024, they will be a useful upgrade for zoned climate control.

9. Heat Pump Water Heater Incentives

Heat pump water heaters are poised to get much more affordable for homeowners in 2024. Instead of using electric heating elements or gas burners, heat pump water heaters extract ambient heat from surrounding air to heat water. Special rebates and tax incentives are being introduced locally and nationally to encourage wider adoption of this energy-efficient alternative to traditional water heaters. Homeowners may save hundreds of dollars a year in electricity costs by switching to a heat pump water heater.

10. Professional HVAC Checkups

It remains essential for homeowners to get yearly professional checkups of HVAC systems to keep them operating efficiently. A thorough maintenance visit tunes up systems ahead of high usage seasons, checks for leaks or clogs, clean components, and can catch small issues before they become big repairs. Special rebates and discounted checkup deals from local HVAC companies make the decision easier for homeowners each spring. Finding problems early also reduces the likelihood of expensive emergency repairs down the road.

11. More Energy Efficient Systems

The overall trend for 2024 HVAC upgrades centers heavily on enhanced system energy efficiency. Whether it is higher-rated equipment or advanced thermostats and controls, homeowners have expanding options to reduce energy consumption while staying comfortable. Cooler summers for lower bills could be just an upgraded HVAC system away next year.

12. Cleaner Indoor Air Quality

Many rebates and incentives arriving in 2024 also promote improved indoor air quality from HVAC upgrades. New filtration standards for central air systems will circulate cleaner air through homes. Sealing ductwork also ensures pollutants stay confined in ducts rather than leaking into living areas. Healthier indoor air quality not only reduces illness risks but also provides extra peace of mind for San Antonio families spending more time at home.

13. Greater HVAC System Control

Smarter, more connected control over HVAC functions is also expanding in 2024. Smart thermostats are becoming more affordable with rebates, and integrated smart vent systems allow room-by-room precision over temperatures. Homeowners gain much finer climatic command of households through internet and smartphone-enabled HVAC technologies rapidly emerging across San Antonio.

In addition to specialized HVAC installation and maintenance services, Air Authority, A Riteway Service Company also provides top-quality plumbing, drainage, electrical, insulation, and home security offerings to keep households running smoothly year-round. With many years of serving the community, we combine fully licensed tech expertise with affordability homeowners can count on. Contact Air Authority, A Riteway Service Company today for more details or to request a personalized 2024 HVAC assessment.

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