When you purchase a high-efficiency air conditioner, you expect it to operate at its high SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio). Although reading energy labels is important, though, enjoying the maximum value of your equipment involves proper installation. Here’s a look at four field conditions that your contractor should pay attention to in order to achieve the high SEER rating that your new A/C has earned in laboratory conditions.
Four factors that can reduce SEER ratings
The SEER numbers are assigned under ideal lab conditions. In real-world installations, variables like your home’s local climate can all impact performance values. While some of these things cannot be changed, there are four key factors that if not handled properly at installation – and sometimes in later maintenance – will result in a high SEER A/C operating at a lower level:
- Airflow – Airflow should be measured at the time of installation and during annual maintenance. This is because if airflow is inadequate, the desired temperature change cannot occur across the evaporator coil. Ultimately, this reduces system efficiency and can make your home feel less comfortable.
- Refrigerant charge – Contractors should pay careful attention to refrigerant charge, as an overcharged or undercharged system can significantly reduce efficiency. It’s also smart to have your HVAC professional install a safety cap to discourage refrigerant huffing, which is dangerous to those inhaling your refrigerant, and can cause damage to your equipment.
- Ductwork – Before installing a new A/C, your ducts should be sized to ensure their compatibility with your new equipment. Your technician should also inspect for any leaks. Leaky ductwork can cause a serious loss in system capacity, create uneven household temperatures, and place excessive strain on your system.
- Equipment sizing – Undersized A/Cs struggle to keep up with your home’s cooling demands while oversized systems waste energy and are unable to properly dehumidify your home. As such, it’s imperative that your equipment is properly sized with a Manual J load calculation before installation.
For more tips on how to maintain a high SEER rating for your A/C, please contact us at Paschal Heat, Air and Geothermal. We proudly serve residents of northwest Arkansas.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Northwest Arkansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about SEER ratings and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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