Q:

What should you consider before getting an indoor AC system?

A:

Quick Answer

There are several things that must be considered before getting an indoor AC system, including the sizing, cooling efficiency and moisture-removal capability of the AC, the cooling load and the area of installation. The goal is to have the most efficient cooling system in the home with the most utility bill savings and the least total lifetime costs.

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Full Answer

Before purchasing, the homeowner needs to know the appropriate sizing of the AC that can satisfy the cooling load of a particular area, which depends on the square footage, insulation, duct work, heat from the lights, etc. The cooling efficiency, which is measured by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio or SEER, and the moisture removal capability, which is measured by the Sensible Heat Ratio or SHR of the AC unit, are also important. A high SEER value indicates a more energy-efficient unit while a high SHR value indicates poor humidity control.

The efficiency of the AC system also depends on the proper planning and installation of the various components. The air handler must be installed in a conditioned space to optimize air flow, minimize duct length, and provide easy maintenance access. The condenser must have proper clearance so that air flow is not blocked. Inspect the ducts for leaks to ensure proper air flow. The contractor chosen for installation should have the license and expertise to get the job done right.

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