Here in Texas, we traditionally use HVAC split systems with the condenser and compressor in an outdoor cabinet connected to the furnace inside. The average cooling output divided by the average energy an AC unit consumes over a cooling season determines its Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating. In 2023, the minimum rating for the southern U.S. will be 15 SEER, but the most efficient units on the market can rate up to 28 SEER.
On a traditional split system, the cooling coil on top of the furnace utilizes the furnace’s blower as the air handler for the air conditioning system. If you’re upgrading or replacing an AC unit in an existing home, you just have to be certain the indoor coil fits the space above your furnace and that the furnace has enough blower power for the new AC. However, if you’re wanting to take advantage of smart home communicating control features, you may have also have to update the furnace and purchase an AC and furnace of a like brand.
There are other factors that can make even your highest rated equipment work harder and use more energy. To avoid oversizing your HVAC system, you must consider the home’s size, layout and climate zone. Bigger than needed is not better; in fact, oversizing can cause a multitude of problems. Furthermore, for equipment to operate at its full potential, the system must be installed the right way, your ductwork and building envelope must be adequate and devoid of air leaks, and the equipment must be properly maintained.
For more info on HVAC Systems, read Building Savvy’s Focus Section: Home Comfort Systems–A Changing World Ushers Forth Innovation and Awareness
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