When you purchase an air conditioner, one desirable quality probably stands out most: efficiency. A high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER rating) means lower utility bills and optimal home comfort. However, proper air conditioner installation is a key factor in enjoying peak efficiency as well. Here are four installation issues that can sabotage a high SEER rating and how to prevent them.
Without the right amount of airflow, it’s impossible for your A/C to cool air properly as it passes over the evaporator coil. Field tests indicate that airflow is usually lower instead of higher than the recommended 400 cubic feet/minute (cfm) per ton of cooling capacity. This can decrease efficiency by about 10 percent.
To counter low airflow, an air conditioner installation should incorporate:
- Properly sized ducts
- A duct layout that doesn’t restrict airflow
- Correctly selected grilles
- Matching indoor and outdoor equipment
Improper refrigerant charge
About seven out of 10 air conditioner installations leave the unit charged incorrectly. This lowers performance SEER ratings by two or more points (meaning a SEER 16 unit performs with the efficiency of a SEER 14 unit).
To prevent this, make sure you hire an HVAC contractor who understands how to check and correct the refrigerant charge.
The average home loses 35 percent of conditioned air through leaks in the ductwork. Leaky ducts detract from the system’s overall capacity and efficiency, wasting energy and taking away from home comfort.
When you have an air conditioner installation performed, ask the technician to check for leaks and seal them with the proper duct mastic material.
The average air conditioner is 24 to more than 100 percent oversized. The larger this percentage is, the less efficiently the system can perform, since being oversized causes short and frequent cycles. This puts extra wear and tear on the system and prevents humidity removal.
Ask your contactor to perform proven sizing methods instead of “rules of thumb” to prevent this air conditioner installation problem.
For a quality installation you can count on, please contact Smoking Mountain Heating and Air in Asheville today.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Asheville, North Carolina and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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