High-Efficiency A/Cs Have Top SEERs: Is Yours Reaching Its Peak Performance?

When it comes to high-efficiency A/Cs, homeowners expect a solid return on their investments through lowered utility bills and excellent performance. What many folks fail to realize, however, is that there's more to SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) ratings than meets the eye. Here's a look at several installation and service factors that can affect system efficiency.

Installation plays a role in A/C SEER ratings

Air conditioners receive their efficiency ratings under controlled test conditions, but when systems are installed in the real world, numerous factors can affect performance. Some variables, such as the local climate, can't be altered, but others can be manipulated by your contractor to maximize efficiency.

To get the most out of your installation, your technician should consider:

  • Airflow -- Inadequate airflow prevents the desired temperature change from occurring across the evaporator coil. This can lead to a reduced SEER value and decreased comfort. Airflow should be measured at the time of installation and any necessary adjustments should be made then.
  • Refrigerant charge -- Insist that your HVAC contractor carefully adheres to manufacturer specifications with regards to refrigerant charge. Even seemingly small variations can result in a significant reduction in efficiency.
  • Ducts -- Your ducts should be sized before installation for your equipment and should be evaluated for any leaks. Leaky ducts can cause huge losses of conditioned air, leading to uneven cooling and higher energy bills.
  • Sizing -- Your air conditioner should always be sized through a professional Manual J load calculation. This ensures that your system is tailor-fitted to your specific needs.

Regular service keeps SEER ratings high

By scheduling annual A/C maintenance, you can keep your system running efficiently for years. During a tune-up, your technician should always measure airflow and make any needed adjustments. Additionally, refrigerant charge should always be verified. A low charge could indicate a leak that could reduce SEER ratings and cause breakdowns. If you feel that your energy bills are higher than normal, then schedule an evaluation of your ducts.

For more advice on maximizing the SEER of high-efficiency A/Cs, contact the pros at Thermacon Service Company, Inc. We serve the Golden Triangle and southwest Louisiana. 

Replacing One Side of Your Split-System A/C? Why a Match With the Other Is a Must

What happens when only one component of your split-system A/C starts acting up? Although you may think that you can simply replace the failing unit, there's more to it than that. By taking the time to understand why a correct match is important, you'll save yourself a lot of stress and expensive problems down the road.

A mismatched air conditioner means trouble

When the indoor coil and outdoor condensing units of your split-system A/C were manufactured, they were designed to work as a team. This team is what ensures that your air conditioner operates at maximum efficiency. When the team is split up, however, serious problems can ensue.

Here are two primary reasons why a mismatched system can cause so much trouble:

  1. Refrigerant -- Your current air conditioner probably relies on R-22 as its refrigerant. New A/Cs, however, use non-ozone depleting refrigerants such as R-410A. Unfortunately, two components that use different refrigerants aren't compatible. Attempting to force them to work together will result in a reduction in system efficiency and the stress could lead to premature system failure. And because installing a poorly-matched until will invalidate any warranties you may have, you could end up with a lot of out-of-pocket expenses.
  2. Efficiency ratings -- As of 2006, all air conditioners must have a SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) rating of at least 13. If your current equipment was installed before this deadline, it may have a lower efficiency rating than the new minimum standards. Installing a high-SEER component to work with a low-SEER unit is a bad idea. As the two units struggle to work together, overall system performance levels will drop and undue strain will be placed on the equipment. This can lead to higher utility bills and costly repairs.

By working with your HVAC professional for a proper match, you can avoid these complications and be eligible for tax credits and rebates.

For advice on replacing your split-system A/C, contact the professionals at Thermacon Service Company, Inc. We serve the Golden Triangle and southwest Louisiana.