This time of year, when temperatures are beginning to climb in South Florida, is the perfect time to invest in a new central air conditioner or your home. If it's been a while since you've been in the market for one, you might be surprised at the high efficiency ratings (SEER – Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) of the latest generation of A/Cs. If you want to make sure that your new system will operate as efficiently as its SEER rating, though, it's important that four factors are handled correctly during installation and operation. Otherwise, you may get SEER 10 performance from a SEER 16 air conditioner.
- Airflow – If you expect your new air conditioner to reach its peak performance level, proper airflow is essential. Without it, your unit's SEER rating will drop. This is typically caused by too-small ducts, restrictive duct layout, restrictive or improper grilles, a mismatched air handler, or a malfunction in the blower motor or fan.
- Charge – Many homeowners take the importance of their refrigerant charge for granted. However, if your A/C doesn't have enough refrigerant, its efficiency will drop, it won't cool your home as well as it should, and eventually, it will break down. A qualified HVAC technician will check the refrigerant charge, and if it's low, add refrigerant and check for leaks.
- Ducts – If your home's air ducts aren't tightly connected and sealed, your air distribution system will leak conditioned air before it reaches its destination. This can cause a drop in performance that has been rated as high as 35 percent in field studies, which will clearly add to your home's overall energy usage. Plus, leaks in your return ducts can allow unfiltered air to infiltrate your ducts and indoor air.
- Size – This can be a tricky matter. Many home HVAC systems are either undersized or oversized, and either issue will result in efficiency and performance problems. In order to make sure that you size your new air conditioner properly, elicit a professional opinion. The technician will conduct a load calculation on your home to determine the size A/C that will deliver optimum cooling.
If you need more shopping advice for your new air conditioner, or for any questions related to home comfort, please contact us at Robert R. McGill Air Conditioning, Inc. We have been serving the HVAC needs of eastern Palm Beach, northern Broward, and southern Martin counties since 1959.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Palm Beach County, Florida about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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