When you are looking for a new cooling system, the best place to start is with the seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER rating. This number is usually between 6 and 25 with the more efficient units having the higher number. But what if there are two models that have very similar SEER numbers and price points? That’s when you need to look at six other factors.
- Check to see if the unit has a thermal expansion valve, often called a metering device, which regulates the flow of refrigerant through the unit. This, coupled with an energy efficiency rating (EER) higher than 11.6 will assure that the cooling system will continue high-efficiency operation even when the temperatures reach into the triple digits.
- See if the unit has a variable speed air handler. This unit operates differently than a standard on/off blower, by allowing the blower to operate at several different speeds to reduce uneven temperatures and lower the noise level. The variable speeds will also reduce energy consumption, decrease humidity and increase the effectiveness of filtration units.
- Look for a fan-only switch so you can keep air circulating in the home without having to run the refrigerating portion of the unit.
- Check if the cooling system comes equipped with an automatic-delay function that turns the fan off a few minutes after the compressor unit turns off.
- Another option that many new cooling systems incorporate is a filter change indicator light. This light can be set to turn on after a set number of running hours. Some units combine this option with a filter air flow sensor that will light the indicator once the airflow efficiency falls below an acceptable level.
- Ask to hear the unit running. This will give you an indication of the noise level you can expect when it runs in your home.
To discuss replacing your old A/C unit with a more efficient one, contact the experts at Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal. We’ve been serving Northwest Arkansas for more than 40 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about cooling systems and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.