What's That Mean?
This will lessen the mystery.
When purchasing an air conditioner,
consumers are often overwhelmed by the array of efficiency
ratings, abbreviation and acronyms used to describe or explain
the products. Read on to help lessen the mystery of purchasing a
home comfort system.
HVACR - Heating, Ventilating, Air
Conditioning and Refrigeration refers to the indoor comfort
HVACR Contractors - companies which
design, install, maintain, and service HVACR systems.
ACCA - Air Conditioning Contractors
of America is a national trade association which represents
heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration
contractors. Their history as an organization traces back to
1914. ACCA has over 4,000 members and 64 local chapter
PBACCA ĖThe Palm Beach Air
Conditioning Contractors Association (PBACCA) is a non-profit
trade association of service to heating, ventilation, air
conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR) contractors. PBACCA has
been serving the local area for 40 years. Locally in the Palm
Beach area the contractors are members of PBACCA. (PBACCA
is not a chapter of ACCA. PBACCA is an independent trade
ARI - Air-Conditioning and
refrigeration Institute is a nonprofit, voluntary organization
comprised of heating, air conditioning and refrigeration
manufactures. ARI publishes standards for testing and rating
heat pumps and air conditioners to provide you with a
standardized measure of comparison. So, ARI ensures a level of
quality within the industry.
DOE - The Department of Energy is a
federal agency in charge of setting industry efficiency -
standards and monitoring the consumption of energy sources.
Watt (W) - a Watt is a unit of
Kilowatt (kW) - a kilowatt equals
1,000 Watts. A kilowatt hour (kWh) is the amount of kilowatts of
electricity used in one hour of operation of any equipment.
BTU - British Thermal Unit is the
amount of heat that will raise or lower one pound of water by
one degree Fahrenheit. A Btuh is how many Btuís are used per
Ton - Air conditioners are generally
sized in tons. Typical sizes for single family residences and
between two and five tons. Each ton equals 12,000 Btuh. It is
important to note that actual capacity is not constant and will
change based on outdoor or indoor temperatures. The published
capacity rating of air conditioners is based on performance at
the ARI standard temperature levels of 95F outside, 80 F inside.
Efficiency - A rating on comfort
equipment is similar to the miles per gallon rating on your car.
The higher the rating number, the more efficient the system and
the lower your fuel (electricity) consumption
will be. You can save a lot of money
with a high efficiency unit. Depending on your local climate,
lifestyle and electricity rates, savings will vary. Florida
residents know "Itís not the heat, itís the humidity" when
determining comfort levels. Itís important to note that humidity
is a major factor in comfort. The higher humidity, even at the
same temperature, will feel hotter and "stickier". Your air
conditioning system removes humidity from the home only while
itís running. Higher efficiency systems will typically run
longer cooling cycles, but at a reduced energy consumption,
allowing more humidity to be removed from the home thereby
creating a more comfortable environment without sacrificing the
energy costs of a lower SEER system. If you have a system that
efficiently removes humidity you may be able to set the
thermostat at a higher temperature and save even more.
SEER - Seasonal Energy Efficiency
Ratio is the amount of cooling your equipment delivers for every
dollar spent on electricity. SEER applies to air conditioners
and heat pumps. In the past, a unit with a SEER of 8.00 was
considered standard efficiency. After January 1, 1992, the
current minimum SEER required by the DOE is 10.00 and 15.00 or
higher SEER is considered high efficiency. This requirement will
increase to a minimum of 13 SEER starting January 1, 2006, which
means consumers will no longer be able to purchase equipment
below that rating.
HSPF - Heating seasonal performance
factor is similar to SEER, but it measures the efficiency of the
heating portion of your hear pump. Like SEER, industry minimums
have been raised recently, and the minimum is now 6.80 HSPF.
Sound Ratings - Although sound does
not affect the efficiency of a unit, it will certainly affect
your comfort. If your unit has a low sound level, you will
hardly notice it is operating. But if it has a higher sound
level, it may mean you good nightís sleep is disturbed every
time it runs. Many local jurisdictions have maximum sound levels
in residential areas. Check with your contractor to be sure
youíre following the law.
Decibel (db) - A decibel describes
the relative loudness of a sound. Some common sound are fairly
close to a typical air conditioner: human voice, 7.0 decibels;
blender, 8.8 decibels.
Sound Rating Number (SRN) - Sound is
measured in bells (a bell equals 10 decibels). The SRN of a unit
is based on ARI test, performed at ARI standard rating
conditions. Average sound rating range from 7.0 to 8.0 decibels.
The lower the SRN rating, the quieter the unit.
Indoor Coils - A homes comfort
system consists of two components: The outdoor unit (condenser
or heat pump) and the indoor unit (coil or air handler).
Combinations of various units will result in vastly different
The Price of Quality - There is more
to buying a system than ratings. The quality and installation of
equipment and materials used, as well as the reliability of the
manufacturer and installing contractor can all affect your
long-term satisfaction and comfort. Top quality, high efficiency
equipment will cost more initially, but it will save you money
on utility bills and service calls for years to come. Be sure to
weigh all the factors before choosing your new system.
Reprint in part, from HVAC City.
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