Air conditioning is essential in Phoenix, and it helps to know what the terms mean when you’re upgrading your unit to make better choices. Since we use our air conditioners for more than half the year, knowing what you’re choosing has a big impact on your comfort and your energy budget. These terms describe A/C essentials:
- SEER and EER: Both of these terms indicate the energy efficiency of the air conditioner. SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio, while EER stands for energy efficiency ratio. The minimum SEER is 13, and the minimum EER is 9.7. Anything higher indicates better efficiency. The SEER applies to central air conditioners, while window or portable A/Cs indicate their EER.
- Air handler: Located indoors, this part of the air conditioner circulates the air through your ducts if you choose a central A/C. The air handler contains the evaporator coil and a fan that blows air over it. The refrigerant circulates through the evaporator coil and picks up heat from your home.
- Air filter: The air filter keeps the parts inside your air handler clean. The filter needs to be kept clean or changed regularly, since the dust that collects on it lowers the efficiency of your cooling system. Dirty filters are the primary cause of premature system failure.
- Compressor and condenser: These parts sit outdoors, either on the roof or the ground. The compressor circulates the refrigerant and the condenser contains the refrigerant coils, along with a fan that pulls air through the fins and coil to dispel the heat from your home.
- Tons: When you’re upgrading your A/C, you’ll have to learn how many tons you need. Each ton of an air conditioner refers to its BTU (British thermal unit) capacity. One ton equals 12,000 BTUs. Make sure that your HVAC contractor uses Manual J to replace your current system, since going by your old one can be misleading, especially if you’ve added insulation, shade screens, or replaced single-pane windows with thermal or Energy Star windows.
To learn more about upgrading your A/C, contact Wolff Mechanical. We’ve served the Phoenix area for 20 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about upgrading your A/C and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Wolff Mechanical services the Phoenix Valley area in Arizona. Visit our website to see our special offers and get started today!