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Cleveland HVAC Blog

Installation Issues That Can Undermine a High SEER Rating

Posted by Paul Wadsworth on Wed, May 01, 2013 @ 04:47 PM

The technology to produce a high SEER rating in an air conditioner under laboratory conditions is well-established. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean the same unit will live up to that rating after it’s installed in your home.  

HVAC ProfessionalThe SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) rating expresses how much heat an air conditioner removes from your home versus the amount of electricity it consumes. SEER ratings prominently displayed on the yellow EnergyGuide label on new air conditioners are helpful for comparison shopping among different makes and models. However, improper or unskilled installation can turn a high SEER rating into a big disappointment under real-world conditions. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that 50 percent of home air conditioners aren’t living up to their SEER rating due to installation issues.

Here are some parameters that a trained HVAC professional will carefully observe when installing your new A/C:


Every system specification relies on the correct volume of airflow. A competent installer will measure airflow at the evaporator coil and verify that the ductwork layout and air handler output are adequate and properly matched to the air conditioner’s capacity.

Refrigerant charge

The refrigerant in the system extracts heat from your home and transfers it outdoors. The manufacturer’s specification for correct refrigerant level is a precision figure, and discrepancies will impact energy efficiency and comfort levels in the home and can even result in damage to expensive components. An HVAC professional will verify the refrigerant charge in the system at installation and double-check it after the unit has been started and test-run.

Duct condition

Deteriorated ductwork can leak as much as 20-40 percent of the cool air produced by your air conditioner into places like the attic or crawl space under your house. It can also draw contaminated air from those same zones into the system and circulate it throughout the living spaces. A competent installation will include an assessment of your duct system for leakage and suggest sealing leaks if required.

P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling is the Cleveland-area homeowner’s trusted source of  HVAC sales and service. Ask us about a professional installation to ensure the high SEER rating of your new A/C.

Federal Tax Credits

Paul WadsworthPaul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.

The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.

Topics: ductwork, hvac professionals, hvac equipment, seer ratings

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