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Frequently Asked Questions

 
 

Air Conditioning

Q: What does SEER stand for?
Q: Is it OK to “mix and match” air conditioning components of different efficiencies? Just because my outside condensor unit is on its way out, does it mean I have to replace my indoor unit as well?
Q: My home has a forced-air furnace but no air conditioning. Can I add central air?
Q: My home does NOT have forced-air heating and there is no ductwork. Can I still get central air conditioning?
Q: What is PuronTM, and why should I be concerned about choosing this coolant for my air conditioning system?
Q: Why does it cost so much to run an air conditioning system?
Q: Do I really need a tune-up for my air conditioning system?

Q: What does SEER stand for?

A: SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and it indicates the efficiency of air conditioning systems. The higher the SEER number, the more cooling you get per unit of energy. As of January 2006, only units with a SEER of 13 or higher can be sold in the United States. Today's cooling units are up to 40% more efficient than those made as recently as 10 years ago.

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Q: Is it OK to “mix and match” air conditioning components of different efficiencies? Just because my outside condensor unit is on its way out, does it mean I have to replace my indoor unit as well?

A: It's never a good idea to mix and match a/c components with different SEERs. You might save money initially by replacing only your outdoor unit with a SEER of 13 or higher (minimum required by January 2006 mandate) SEER compressors and hooking it up to your 10- or 12-SEER system. However, it doesn’t make sense in the long run. It’s like buying a brand-new stereo set and hooking it up to your old antiquated speakers. By pairing components with different SEERS, you're just not going to get your money’s worth in terms of comfort and efficiency. You're better off paying a little extra up front because you’ll be saving a lot more over time.

At Scott Williams we have the expertise to help you choose the right efficiency system for your home. For a no-obligation evaluation, click here.

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Q: My home has a forced-air furnace but no air conditioning. Can I add central air?

A: You bet! We can mount a cooling coil on top of the furnace and install a condensing unit outside. If you’re ready for a new furnace installation, we can recommend energy efficient units that incorporate A/C. For a no-obligation evaluation, click here.

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Q: My home does NOT have forced-air heating and there is no ductwork. Can I still get central air conditioning?

A: Absolutely! Today’s simple ductless air conditioning options make it possible to install a quiet, efficient air conditioning system in your home even if it doesn't have ductwork. Ductless air conditioning systems consist of one or more indoor air distribution units linked by refrigeration lines to an outdoor compressor. These flexible “refrigeration lines” can be positioned inside your walls and ceilings with a minimum of inconvenience. Installing ductless air conditioning costs a little more than standard central air conditioning systems but much less than the cost of installing ductwork and a central air conditioner.

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Q: What is PuronTM, and why should I be concerned about choosing this coolant for my air conditioning system?

A: You may not realize it, but most of the air conditioning systems in use today are an endangered species. Soon, the refrigerant we know as Freon (R-22) will no longer be used in a/c systems because it destroys the Earth’s protective ozone layer in the atmosphere. (Ozone protects us from harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun.) As of January 2006, cooling system manufacturers are no longer permitted to make systems that use R-22. By 2010 the production of R-22 will no longer be allowed. In 1991 Allied Signal developed the first environmentally friendly coolant known as R-410A. Several companies have since trademarked their own version of R-410A, including Carrier (Puron®), Honeywell (Genetron® AZ20) and Dupont (Suva® 410A). Years of commercial use and testing have proven that Puron® and the other R-410A products are superior in performance and energy efficiency to Freon.

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Q: Why does it cost so much to run an air conditioning system?

A: Air conditioners run on electricity and electricity is the most expensive energy source. Converting fuels like coal or natural gas into electricity is inherently inefficient. What’s more, much of the original electricity generated at the power plant is lost during transmission over power lines. So, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, by the time it reaches your home, electricity is only 33% efficient on average.

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Q: Do I really need a tune-up for my air conditioning system?

A: An air conditioning tune-up and inspection will help catch service problems before they get you hot under the collar. Many breakdowns occur on the hottest day of the year — because that’s when your a/c is under the most stress. And because a tune-up ensures that your system will run at peak efficiency, you’ll lower your electric bills. A system that’s running efficiently can save you as much as 30% on your cooling costs. So give us a call to schedule your annual tune up!

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