If your old air conditioner is worn out from the summer workload, you may be due for an end-of-season air conditioning upgrade. Whether you are troubleshooting, upgrading, repairing or replacing your AC, you need to be an educated consumer to ensure you make the right choice and get the best return on your investment. To help with that here is some terminology you should know before making that end-of-season air conditioning upgrade:
- SEER: Seasonal energy efficiency ratio. This number tells you how efficiently the A/C uses electricity to produce cold air over an entire cooling season.
- Cooling load: The amount of cold air needed to cool down your Coastal Bend home on a hot day. The cooling load is individually calculated for each home using Manual J and is essential for choosing the most efficient A/C for your home.
- Ton: The measure of an air conditioner’s cooling power. The tons of cooling power need to match the calculated cooling load.
- British Thermal Unit: A smaller, more basic unit used to measure cooling load and cooling power. There are 12,000 British Thermal Units (Btu’s) in one ton.
- CFM: Cubic feet per minute. CFM refers to the rate of airflow through the A/C unit. The rule of thumb for efficient A/C operation is that you need 400 CFM of airflow for each A/C ton; by reducing that to 350 CFM, however, the A/C can remove more humidity from the air.
- Delta T: The drop in air temperature as it passes through the air handler.
- Air handler: The indoor part of an A/C system. It contains the evaporator (cooling) coil, thermal expansion valve and blower. Some air handlers are variable-speed units, which can make them more efficient.
- Condenser/compressor: The outdoor part of an A/C system. It houses the condenser coil (which cools the refrigerant) and the compressor pump.
- Refrigerant: The pressurized chemical that A/C systems use to provide cooling. Older air conditioners use R-22 refrigerant, but R-22 is being phased out in favor of cheaper and more environmentally-friendly R-410A.
For expert help with your end-of-season air conditioning upgrade, contact us at CCAC, Inc.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Corpus Christi, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air conditioning and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. Image courtesy of Shutterstock