Air Conditioner Shopping? Look for These Features
Summer’s heat is approaching and if you’re looking for a new air conditioner, use these recommendations to select a system that will pay you back quickly with more comfort and lower energy bills. Cooling system technology has changed over the last decade and new systems offer better efficiency and comfort options.
Central air conditioning systems have efficiency ratings called SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio), the one you’ll see on the EnerGuide label. However, another efficiency rating, the EER (energy efficiency ratio), is also available, but harder to find. The EER and SEER are measured differently, and in hot climates like ours can be, the EER could make a difference in your choice.
Engineers test the SEER and EER under different conditions and the EER indicates how the air conditioner performs during hotter weather. The minimum SEER stands at 13 and the minimum EER is 9.5. Anything higher provides better efficiency.
These features will increase the efficiency of the cooling system, lowering energy bills and increasing comfort:
- Variable-speed air handler. This type starts and stops slowly, runs quietly, and decreases electric bills.
- Thermal expansion valve. The valve adjusts itself based on the cooling needs indoors. It saves energy because electrical consumption diminishes when the weather is moderate.
- Desuperheater. If you live inland where it’s hotter, this option takes the heat from your home and heats the water in your water heater for free during the cooling season.
Regardless of the SEER and EER you choose, having it sized properly by an HVAC contractor who uses Manual J can make a big difference in the longevity of the system and how fast the payback period is. A system that’s too large costs more and increases your electric bills, regardless of its SEER or EER. Proper sizing is critical and it involves measuring the cooling load of your home, inputting those characteristics into Manual J software to find the right size, then calculating duct sizing.
To learn more about selecting the right air conditioner for your home, contact Air-Tro, Inc. We’ve provided HVAC services for the Pasadena area since 1969.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Pasadena, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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