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2 Cutting-Edge Technologies That Could Make Air Conditioners Better Than Ever

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If you are in the market for a new air conditioner, you might be wondering how those ultra-efficient HVAC systems could get any better. After all, what else could you possibly need after you install that state-of-the-art touchscreen thermostat that works with your home automation system? However, HVAC manufacturers are constantly perfecting their products, and future systems might tackle some of your biggest air conditioning dilemmas. Here are two cutting-edge technologies that could make air conditioners better than ever:

1: Anti-Microbial Surfaces

Wouldn't it be awesome if surfaces sanitized themselves? Although it might sound like something out of a science fiction movie, anti-microbial surfaces are all the rage in product manufacturing these days. Believe it or not, scientists have discovered that by infusing copper or silver particles into surface materials, they can significantly reduce bacteria levels.

Silver particles interact with an enzyme that bacteria needs to grow, so that the pathogens simply die off. Copper kills bacteria even more rapidly by essentially punching holes in the sides of the actual cell membranes. After the pathogens lose necessary water and nutrients, they dry up and die. Copper particles can also bind to pathogens, which can alter their growth patterns and lead to cell death.

So, what does this mean for your future air conditioner? Here are a few ways that HVAC manufacturers might be able to use this technology to improve their product lines:

  • Scent: Don't you hate the smell that radiates out of your vents when you turn on your air conditioner at the start of the summer? Although you might write off this bad smell as a simple mechanical odor, stinky air conditioners typically indicate mold and mildew growth. However, since anti-microbial surfaces can eradicate bacteria before it has a chance to thrive, HVAC manufacturers have been experimenting with the idea of creating systems made from copper components. In fact, one Chinese study found that while traditional aluminum interiors allowed pathogens to thrive, mold species died off in 24 hours inside of a system that used anti-microbial surfaces.
  • Air Quality: Unfortunately, a foul-smelling home isn't the only issue that a little mold and mildew growth can cause. If your air conditioner offers bacteria and fungi a place to grow, it could also impact your air quality—which could be especially harmful to those who are immune-compromised or who suffer from severe allergies. However, if you can keep pathogen levels at bay, you might be able to breathe a little easier.

To top it all off, because mold and fungus can impede airflow, antimicrobial air conditioner models are more efficient than ever. In fact, some new copper systems are up to 56% more efficient than the next most efficient model.

2: Superhydrophobic Coatings

Although a little water might not seem like an imminent threat to your air conditioner, moisture is the sworn enemy of complex electric systems with moving parts. Over time, water can wear away surface coatings and oxidize metal, damaging moving parts and creating efficiency problems. Fortunately, scientists are also experimenting with adding superhydrophobic coatings to air conditioning units. Unlike traditional surfaces, which allow water to penetrate the area, superhydrophobic coatings repel water molecules—keeping the underlying structure dry.

In addition to allowing moisture to bead off of system parts, hydrophobic coatings might even be able to keep those coils from collecting water and freezing over. Can you imagine a summer where you don't have to turn off your air conditioner for a few hours to let it defrost? Superhydrophobic coatings might make your air conditioner run a little better and stay more structurally stable. 

Before you shop for a new air conditioner at sites like, take some time to think about your chief HVAC complaints. Since some of these technologies are already being used in air conditioners, you might be able to purchase a system that meets your needs.