A high-efficiency air conditioner is a great way to save on energy bills during the long hot Florida summers. If you’re not seeing the savings you expected from your high-efficiency A/C, it’s probably experiencing less than ideal operating conditions. Air conditioners get their seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) from measurements performed in a laboratory under ideal conditions. Conditions in your home that are significantly different from those ideal conditions can contribute to your A/C not reaching its SEER.
Improper refrigerant charge
One of the things an air conditioner is most sensitive to is the charge of its refrigerant system. Your A/C should have been properly charged upon installation, but if a leak develops, refrigerant will escape. Supplying the incorrect amount of refrigerant is a common mistake of improper installations. Because it’s dependent upon the length of the refrigerant lines, undercharging is particularly common on systems with long lines.
Air conditioners also require a specific rate of airflow across their coils to achieve efficient operation. Proper ductwork design and an appropriate choice of an air handler are responsible for achieving this, but sometimes ductwork can develop problems that increase its resistance to airflow. A duct cleaning may be required if so much dust and debris has built up in the ductwork that it’s affecting airflow. You also need to be sure to keep furniture or other objects from obstructing registers and to replace the air filter when it’s dirty or once every three months.
Air leakage from ductwork is a common source of inefficiency, especially in older homes. Leaks allow cool air to escape to places where it’s not useful and hot air to infiltrate into circulation. It’s best to seal duct joints with mastic, but certain metal-backed tapes are also sufficient.
The best way to find the source of your A/C not reaching its SEER is with an annual A/C maintenance visit. The check-up from a qualified contractor will reveal if there are any problems with refrigerant charge, airflow or leakage.
For this or any other home comfort needs, contact Cox Air Conditioning & Heating. We serve Clearwater, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Palm Harbor, Trinity and West Chase.