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Air-Conditioner Efficiency

When your air-conditioning is on, make certain to shut off kitchen, bath and ventilating fans after they have done their job. In just one hour these fans can blow away a houseful of costly cooled air.

Central air-conditioner efficiency is measured by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The higher the SEER the more efficient the unit. Units with a SEER of 12 or above are considered high-efficiency; 17 is the highest available.

Dept of Energy standards now require a SEER of 13 or above for residential central air conditioners.

Care and Repair Guide

Consumer TipsThe Care and Repair Guide was produced to help with general information regarding heating, cooling, and plumbing. Order a free copy or view each section now.

Air Filters

Air FilterChanging your air filters on a regular basis can greatly reduce your operating and maintenance costs for both heating and air conditioning.

Heat Pump Cooling Efficiency

Heat pump cooling efficiency is measured by a SEER rating; a heat pump's heating efficiency is measured by the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF). A heat pump with a SEER of 12 or higher and a HSPF of at least 8 is considered high efficiency.

Air-Conditioner Location

Air Conditioner LocationAvoid locating your air conditioner in direct sunlight, particularly on the south side of your home where it will be forced to work much harder to do its job.

Cleaning Air-Conditioner

Do not attempt to clean the condenser coil of your air-conditioning system without turning off the power.


Air-Conditioner Maintenance and Service Tips

Before calling for service if your air-conditioner is not working, check to see if:

  • the thermostat switch is set to the proper position—heating or cooling.
  • the set-point is below the room temperature.
  • the furnace is plugged in and the power switch turned on. The air conditioner needs the furnace to circulate the air.
  • the air-conditioning disconnect or breaker has been turned on. If you know how to check the fuses, see if any are blown.
  • the furnace filter is clean.

Do not build sheds or roofs over your air-conditioner.

ThermostatDo not set the thermostat for cooling below 68 degrees. This can cause a multitude of problems with your air-conditioner, including freezing up.

Remember to turn off your humidifier for the summer cooling system.

Room Air-Conditioner Efficiency

Room air-conditioner efficiency is measured by the SEER which is the BTU/hr output divided by the watts of electricity the unit uses. It basically tells you how much heat you get out of the unit compared to how much electricity you put into it. The higher the SEER the less electricity the air conditioner will use.

Furnace Efficiency  

HVACFurnace efficiency is measured by the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating. The higher the local utility rates, the higher the AFUE you should get. Furnaces with AFUE ratings of 80% and above are considered high efficiency; 96.6 is the highest available.

Energy recovery ventilators (ERVs)  

Energy Recovery VentilatorsIf your home is equipped with these devices, they need motors oiled and air filters cleaned. Some of the devices also need belts. Consider having these systems serviced every year at the same time as your furnace is being serviced.

Reducing Pollutants in the Air

There are three major methods to reduce pollutants in indoor air. In order of effectiveness these are:

  1. Remove the source
    of the emission
  2. Ventilation
  3. Air Cleaning
Freon Ventilation

Freon Removal UnitIt is illegal and punishable by significant fines to vent Freon, the most common substance used in residential air-conditioning equipment, to the open air. The prohibition on venting covers maintenance, servicing, repair and disposal of air-conditioning or refrigeration equipment. The technician servicing your unit must know how—and have the proper equipment—to recapture any Freon in the system.

Thermostat Temperature

ThermostatWhen you want to achieve rapid temperature change for comfort, do not set the thermostat higher or lower than the desired temperature. That does not cool or change the temperature in a home any faster—it just makes the system work longer.

Air-conditioners are designed for a 15 to 20 degree temperature differential between inside and outside.

Your air-conditioner will dehumidify your home if it has a chance to run long enough.

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