One of the most important things to look for when you’re selecting a new air conditioner for your Savannah-area home is a high SEER rating. SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio, and a high SEER means high efficiency—the higher the better. The SEER rating is an excellent way to compare cooling systems. But once you’ve chosen high-efficiency equipment for your home, there are additional concerns. To be sure that you’ll actually experience the level of energy efficiency, utility savings and comfort that your new system is capable of you need quality installation. Make sure you choose an experienced, quality HVAC contractor.

More on SEER

The SEER is the ratio of cooling output in British thermal units to the energy consumed in watt hours. Cooling equipment with a high SEER rating generally has a higher upfront cost, but this should be weighed against lower monthly operating costs. Seek advice from your local HVAC expert to determine long-term savings. Your contractor can also estimate how long it will take for a particular system to pay itself off via lower monthly energy bills.

The importance of proper installation

An inexperienced HVAC contractor or one who provides sloppy, hurried or one-size-fits-all installation can ruin the performance of even the best A/C equipment. Poor installation practices can result in uneven cooling and inefficient performance. Unskilled installers can actually make errors that will shorten the life of your new system.

Of course you’ll want to protect your investment in your new cooling equipment and benefit from its high SEER rating. To do so, hire an HVAC expert to ensure that proper system selection and exacting installation requirements are followed. The most common mistakes made by dishonest, inexperienced or just poorly trained contractors include: under- or oversizing of equipment, incorrect refrigerant pressure and inadequate, unbalanced airflow. Here’s how quality home comfort contractors handle these crucial tasks:

Equipment capacity/sizing

It is unwise to assume you must purchase a new cooling system that is the same size as your old one. Your existing equipment’s size could have been miscalculated—many homes have the wrong-size systems, including systems that were installed when a house was built. Even if the system was the proper size initially, your house is probably more airtight today, after years of improvements and added insulation. Buying an A/C that is too large is a waste of money. In fact, either type of error, too much or too little capacity, wastes energy, increases operating costs and compromises home comfort.

An expert HVAC contractor determines the correct size for your home by using detailed load calculations. This determines the system capacity (size in tons) necessary to cool your home. The exacting formula involves data/measurements unique to your particular household, including:

  • Home construction (materials used in building the home)
  • Square footage and layout of rooms
  • Number of occupants and their ages
  • Window sizes and locations
  • Orientation of the home on the property

Refrigerant pressure

Quality installation includes careful attention to refrigerant pressure. Refrigerant charge (pressure) must be set/adjusted to exactly match manufacturer specifications. Under-charging and over-charging are both common errors that inhibit efficiency and performance and can eventually shorten a system’s life. Refrigerant must be handled properly by a professional so that it does not escape into the environment during charging.

Balancing airflow

Adequate airflow through the home is essential for good indoor air quality, air conditioning efficiency and home comfort. To ensure proper airflow, your HVAC contractor will inspect your duct system. To ensure that it works properly with your new A/C equipment and circulates air efficiently, the contractor may need to:

  • Enlarge the ducts.
  • Repair blockages or twisted/damaged ducts.
  • Retrofit ductwork to remove airflow restriction.
  • Add new supply/return registers and ducts.

If new ductwork is installed, it should be placed in conditioned spaces in the home whenever possible. Actual ducts must be used rather than crawlspaces, chases or floor cavities. Ducts in unconditioned areas should be insulated.

Sealing ductwork

Leaky ducts are often the biggest source of energy loss in a typical home. According to Energy.gov, leaky ducts can add hundreds of dollars a year to home heating and cooling costs. Expert installers will measure and inspect ductwork for leakage and seal the ductwork.

Considering a new air conditioner with a high SEER rating? Contact Byrd Heating and Air Conditioning in Savannah for expert equipment selection/sizing and installation services. Visit our website for more details about our services or just give us a call.

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