Let’s face it, you don’t buy an air conditioner very often (if you’re a typical homeowner, maybe once every 20 years). Given how rarely you buy this product it’s not surprising that many of the terms your contractor uses seem like they’re from a foreign language.
To help you feel more comfortable talking about air conditioning, we’ve put together a short handy glossary of common air conditioning terms and abbreviations.
Air Changes per Hour (ACH) – When your air conditioning system is working it is continuously removing stale air and bringing in new air. ACH measures how much fresh air is brought into a room or building by mechanical and natural ventilation.
Industry guidelines recommend 0.35 changes per hour, or about one complete change every three hours for a typical home.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Standard (SEER) – Think of SEER like the miles per gallon metric for your air conditioner. It measures the cooling output during a typical cooling season compared to the amount of electric energy consumed during the same period.
The higher the rating, the more efficient your air conditioner is. Higher ratings translate into more cool air for every dollar you spend on electricity during the same period.
To encourage the use of more energy-efficient products the federal government has set minimum acceptable SEER standards for all new units. These minimum levels increase periodically, with the current standard set at 13 SEER.
While all manufacturers comply with the minimum standards, many offer ultra high-efficiency units with SEER ratings as high as 20 SEER. These more efficient units, which save money in the long run, will be more expensive to purchase on the front end. The experienced HVAC service professionals at J.R. Wortman can help you select the best air conditioner for the moderate Indiana summers.
Heat Gain / Heat Loss – These terms refer to how much warm or cool air you need to keep the room temperature consistent. The thickness of the insulation in walls and floors, the number of windows and whether they are shaded or receive direct sunlight during the hottest part of the day, as well as the number of people and electrical equipment in a room can all affect how much heat is lost or gained every day.
Units which are too large will blast your home with bursts of cold air, and then shut off. They won’t run long enough to remove humidity and you are likely to have wide variations in temperature. Units which are too small will simply run all the time, never quite bringing your room temperature to a comfortable level. Our professional sales engineers will run a Heat Load Calculation for your home so we can recommend the appropriate size air conditioning unit for your home.
Questions about these and other common air conditioning terms? Contact a J.R. Wortman rep and learn more today.