HVAC Education, What is SEER?
Spring is here officially, yet it still seems like winter, especially in Ottawa. Many of our new homeowners who have moved in last fall still need to decide on installing a Central Air Conditioning unit. So I wanted to list a few of the more common concerns or questions we get this time of year.
Do I need a dehumidifier as well as an AC?
- No, dehumidifiers are generally only needed in southern climates, and your AC automatically removes moisture from your home if you have a central heating system (Ductwork).
My Builder has pre-installed the “line” for a future AC, Do I get a discount?
- Yes, if you have a Lineset run from your furnace, you will get a price adjustment based on a reduced material cost to install your unit. The Lineset needs to be flushed (cleaned) prior to use.
Should I install my AC on wall brackets or on a Pad?
- In most cases we recommend wall brackets for new home applications. This is because the ground may not be fully landscaped or settled. As the house settles units have been known to shift and put strain on the lineset. Having your unit on brackets also allows digging if there are ever leaks or other access issues. If you do decide to install using a pad we will often need to purchase a base material (gravel) to level the surrounding area.
How important is Brand?
- We suggest you do your homework on where the units are manufactured, noise levels, and warranty coverage.
What is SEER and how important is it?
- From Natural Resources Canada
- “The seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) is a measurement of the cooling efficiency of the air conditioner over the entire cooling season. It is determined by dividing the total cooling provided over the cooling season, in British thermal units per hour, by the total energy used by the air conditioner during that time, in watt/hours. The SEER is based on a climate with an average summer temperature of 28°C.
- The ENERGY STAR specification for central air conditioners requires that the EnerGuide SEER rating be 12.0 or greater for a single-package unit and 13.0 or greater for a split system.
- SEER like any other measure is a tool used to gauge standards. Homeowners living in Canada have a much shorter cooling season than more southern climates. The higher the SEER the more efficient and less energy it will use to cool the house. The increasing SEER also means higher purchase costs. The homeowner needs to assess their own cost/benefit situation. Higher hydro costs now or in the future (deferred increases by the Wynne Government) must be weighed against the savings when purchasing. This is generally referred to as the payback period. “How long until the unit pays for itself?”
- Our recommendation is that 14-16 SEER units offer the best value, going beyond (18-25 SEER) means payback of 8-9 years or more based on our shorter cooling season.
We hope this little blurb helps you with your future decision and increases your working knowledge of the HVAC world.