With the winter season coming to a close, it's time to start preparing for the spring and summer. As a homeowner, your first thoughts of spring and summer are focused on replacing your outdated and overworked air conditioner. However, choosing a new air conditioner is a difficult task. Not only do you have to find a unit within your price range, but you must also decipher the overabundance of confusing acronyms listed for each unit. Here are the three most important acronyms to know and understand while selecting a new air conditioner:
BTU – British Thermal Units
The amount of British thermal units an air conditioner can produce per hour determines its overall cooling capability. One British thermal unit is the amount of energy required to change the temperature of a pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.
Many homeowners make the mistake of purchasing a unit with far greater British thermal unit output than they need simply because they want their air conditioner to cool their home instantaneously. However, carefully calculating the amount of British thermal units that are necessary for cooling your home will allow you to balance your unit's cooling power and energy consumption.
To determine the optimal British thermal rating for your new air conditioner from a place like Aggressive Mechanical Contractors, you must measure the volume of the various rooms throughout your home, the amount of sunlight penetration into your home, and the heat production of your household appliances. Additionally, factors such as insulation and air leakage must be considered.
SEER – Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio
A unit's seasonal energy efficiency ratio is the measurement used to determine its overall efficiency during the hotter months of the year. The seasonal energy efficiency ratio of a unit is calculated by dividing the BTU production of a unit during the spring and summer seasons by its power consumption in watts.
With the developments in air conditioning technology over the past few decades, seasonal energy efficiency ratios have gradually improved. The minimum seasonal energy efficiency ratio of air conditioners is regulated by the government and varies by region.
If you're purchasing a new air conditioner to cut down on your cooling costs, then the seasonal energy efficiency ratio is the most important specification for you. By replacing your current unit with one that has a far greater seasonal energy efficiency ratio, you will significantly decrease your annual cooling costs.
CFM – Cubic Feet Per Minute
A unit's cubic feet per minute rating is determined by the strength and size of its blower motor. Since an air conditioner cools air by blowing it through an evaporator coil, a unit's CFM rating will significantly affect the amount of time it takes before you notice the cool air being blown out of your unit.
Similarly to BTU output, finding an optimal CFM rating for your unit requires measuring the volume of your home. However, other factors such as the size of your air ducts and the volume of air available to your unit must be considered while calculating an optimal CFM rating. If your air ducts aren't sized properly for your unit, or if there isn't a sufficient volume of air available in the room in which your blower motor is installed, then your unit's CFM will be negatively affected.
These three specifications aren't separate entities—your unit's BTU output, EER, and CFM rating affect each other. If your unit can't produce enough BTUs for your home or achieve its original CFM rating, then its overall cooling efficiency will be severely reduced—which will affect its EER.
If you don't know the proper BTU or CFM rating for your home, then have your local HVAC technician inspect your home and perform the necessary calculations to determine the ideal specifications for your new unit. By doing so, you can narrow down your selection of air conditioners and select one that will provide fast, efficient, and affordable cooling to your home for the next several years.
The best way to handle major home renovations is to take them one step at a time. Instead of trying to change your whole home at once, start small. I started with the guest bathroom, then the guest bedroom, then moved on to my kids’ rooms, my bedroom, and the living room. Now I’m working on remodeling the kitchen. I started this blog to help other people who are attempting major home renovations. I’ll show you how to change your whole home by breaking it up into manageable chunks. Wondering which kitchen counters are right for you, or how to add more space to your bedroom? We’ll go over the pros and cons of different materials and discuss DIY renovation projects. Before you know it, you’ll have created your dream home.