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.