When it comes to A/C SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio), there’s more than meets the eye. Although the efficiency rating of your equipment may be high, there are several factors that can bring that value down. Here’s a look at four details that must be considered in order to maximize a system’s SEER.
Maximizing A/C SEER ratings through proper installation
It is important to understand that SEER ratings are assigned in controlled lab settings. In real-world installation scenarios, however, field conditions can affect performance values. Details like climate cannot be controlled by your contractor, but there are four factors that can be manipulated to optimize system efficiency:
- Airflow – When adequate airflow is not achieved, the desired temperature change cannot occur across the evaporator coil. This ultimately leads to a drop in system efficiency and home comfort levels. In some cases, poor airflow can be due to ducts that are too small, restrictive ductwork, or poorly matched air handlers. Be sure that your HVAC professional measures airflow at the time of installation, and makes any necessary adjustments to maximize efficiency. Airflow should also be measured during annual preventive maintenance.
- Refrigerant charge – Insist that your contractor follow manufacturer specifications regarding refrigerant charge. Even seemingly minor deviations can significantly alter A/C SEER ratings. Like airflow, refrigerant charge should be verified and adjusted regularly.
- Tight ducts – It’s wise to have your ducts evaluated for leaks prior to installation. Leaky ducts can result in a direct loss of system capacity, can create moisture problems, and can even affect air quality by introducing unconditioned or unfiltered air into your home.
- Size – Never purchase or install an air conditioner that wasn’t properly sized through the use of load calculation tools like Manual J. Undersized systems will undergo continuous stress as they struggle to meet your demands, while oversized systems will waste energy due to frequent on/off cycles. Additionally, short cycles lead to poor humidity control.
For more tips on how to maximize A/C SEER ratings, contact us at Around the Clock Air Conditioning. We proudly serve residents of the greater Los Angeles area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Los Angeles, North Hollywood and surrounding areas 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.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock