It’s that time of year again, when the weather starts to heat up and the humidity really begins to wear on you. If you’ve ever had to suffer through a Corpus Christi summer without a reliable air conditioner, chances are you’re never going to want to do so again. If you’re looking to install a new air conditioner in your home before summer arrives, there are a couple of things you need to know beforehand. Not every air conditioner is suited for every home, and you really don’t want to find out after the fact that you picked the wrong one for your needs. Look at these factors to help determine whether or not an air conditioner will serve you well.
All air conditioners are rated by something called the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER. The SEER rating is a number measuring the efficiency of the air conditioner in terms of output vs electricity used. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the air conditioner is at cooling a home. The math involved for calculating a SEER rating is rather complicated, so we won’t go into it here. However, it’s a good idea to know the ideal range for a new air conditioner.
Typically, you aren’t going to be able to find an air conditioner with a SEER rating of less than 13. This is because there are laws in place governing this rating, and all new air conditioning systems manufactured since 2006 must meet that minimum of 13 in order to qualify for the ENERGY STAR label. If you want an extremely energy efficient system, you should look at one around 15 SEER. A difference of just a couple spots makes a big difference in how much you pay over the life of the system, so don’t ignore it if the rating is lower than 13.
No, we’re not talking about how much the air conditioner weighs. Air conditioner output is measured in tonnage, as in “how many tons of heated air can this system remove from a home in an hour.” The actual metric used is BTUs, which stands for British Thermal Unit. This is an especially important rating to consider, because far too many homeowners assume that if they can physically fit an air conditioner into their home, then it will operate just fine. This is not true.
If you install an air conditioner that is rated far above what is required for your home, then the thermostat will shut it down every time it tries to run through an entire cycle. This short cycling will increase the amount of wear and tear on the system significantly, causing it to break down more often and shortening its effective lifespan. Installing an AC system that is too small will have more or less the same result. Make sure that you consult with a professional about which tonnage rating is ideal for your home before installing an air conditioner.