Most manufacturers have a several levels of
SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). SEER must be understood to be able
to make an informed purchase. 13 SEER is now the legal minimum, while
a few years ago there were not any minimum standards. This means that most
older systems were real energy hogs, with levels as low as 5 SEER. The
higher the number the more efficient the system. It is said that for each
point in SEER that you go up you can save as much as 10% in electricity.
As of January 2006 the Government mandated a new manufacturing minimum
standard of 13 seer.
This has caused most prices to go up, so price quotes from two or more years
ago have gone up from about $300 to $1000 depending on the size system.
differences of these systems are:
There are 3 main items that use the
electricity in a
central air conditioning system,
1. The Compressor
2. The Condenser Fan
3. The Air Handler Fan Motor.
A 13 SEER may have a new design
scroll compressor, these work similar to a jet engine inside, whereas the 10
and older units worked with pistons like a car engine. The physical size of
the outdoor unit will be larger, this means it has more coil surface area,
and will cool off the refrigerant (Freon/Puron) better. It may even have a high
efficiency fan motor, or may require that the air handler in the attic be
As you move up the ladder of SEER on any brand there will be other
options they include to get higher efficiency.
Some of the
major companies have gone to a new refrigerant
Puron, this is because in a
few years a law will come into effect, that companies can no longer make
machines that use the old standard Freon 22. So this is another factor to
consider. Freon 22 gas itself has a date of 2015 to stop manufacturing. Some
time after that systems needing a recharge may need conversions to new
We advise our customers to purchase systems between a 13
and 15 SEER These systems have longer warranties, save energy and are cost
effective to install.
Systems over 15 SEER may have such items such as
special 2 stage compressors, natural gas powered that actually
generate electricity for the motors to run and a host of other items. If you
want to learn more about the individual brands and efficiencies visit the
web sites of the system manufacturers to see what they offer.
is capable of installing any of the systems on the market today. If you
search the web you will find that one of the biggest energy saving factors
is the installation itself.
Poorly installed systems of the highest
SEER rating may only net the customer the savings of a lesser unit. Rest
assured that our team at Northern Air can and will install your system
with the utmost of care and engineering to provide you with the quality &
economy expected from your purchase.
We are a full service shop,
providing the highest quality installations & service.