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South Florida homes rely on HVAC systems to control humidity levels and provide cool air throughout most of the year. If your HVAC system is older or improperly sized, it’s wasting energy. 

The goal of owning any AC system is to have the most efficient system possible. This lowers your energy bills and helps reduce your home’s carbon footprint. 

In 2015, Emerson Climate Technologies surveyed 1,454 people to learn more about their experiences with home HVAC. A few things stood out.

  • 7% of homeowners did not hire a professional HVAC contractor to install their system.
  • 16% of HVAC contractors never measured the home’s square footage before recommending a new HVAC system.
  • 14% of HVAC contractors never inspected the amount of insulation.
  • 30% of AC owners do not feel their system provides year-round comfort.
  • 36% of HVAC contractors completed a manual “J” calculation
  • 46% of HVAC contractors never inspected the doors and windows for leaks.
  • 55% of homeowners have a system that’ between the ages of 10 and 19 years.
  • 76% of homeowners have an HVAC system that’s more than 10 years old.
  • 100% of HVAC contractors looked at the existing ducts.
  • The average age of a system when I needed replacement was 15 years.

EER, SEER, and SEER2 are all ways to gauge the efficiency of an HVAC system. They’re a key metric to use when choosing a new central AC system. EER is the most important. What are they and how are they calculated?

Understanding SEER, SEER2, and EER2

 In 2023, the National Standards changed. SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) was replaced by SEER2 requirements. All AC systems installed in a South Florida home must have a SEER2 rating of 14.3 or greater for systems below 45,000 British thermal units (BTUs) or 13.8 or greater for systems over 45,000 BTUs. Heat pumps must also meet the 14.3 SEER2 minimum and also an HSPF2 of 7.5 or greater.

SEER and SEER2 are calculated by using the M1 blower test. It changes static pressure within a system five times to view the efficiency during different air pressure shifts. It’s designed to replicate how weather patterns change air inside and outside a home, which impacts how much an AC system works, which impacts how much energy is consumed. It considers the performance over the season where temperatures fluctuate.

EER2 (Energy Efficiency Ratio) is a measurement that’s calculated by dividing cooling output in BTUs by the power (watts) that are used during operation. A 30,000 BTU system that has a power rating of 2,500 watts would have an EER2 of 7.2. (18000/2500= 7.2) It focuses on peak cooling performance with a constant temperature of 95ºF outside and 80ºF inside with 50% humidity.

In general, SEER2 is an average and EER2 is very specific data. As EER2 is better at calculating efficiency in high humidity, it’s an important number for any homeowner in South Florida. 

The bottom line is this. A high SEER2 with a low EER2 signifies a system that would perform well in mild and cool weather conditions, but it loses efficiency in humid, hot weather. As Miami and other southern Florida towns and cities experience heat and high humidity, a system with a high EER2 and high SEER2 is essential.

SEER2 upgrades help you save a lot of money. If you currently have a 2-ton AC system with a SEER rating of 13, upgrading to a SEER2 rating of 18 saves you about $300 per year. 

Tips for Selecting a Central AC System

Florida law requires all AC systems sold and installed in the state to meet Florida Building Code-Energy Conservation codes. The law doesn’t apply to existing central AC systems, but it does apply if you need to have your system replaced. To ensure the new system meets the codes, a duct inspection and equipment sizing analysis needs to take place.

When it’s time to replace your system, consider what you want most. These features are all helpful in staying cool while also keeping your bills lower. 

Smart Technology:

Smart thermostats help control costs by learning your daily routines. If there’s no motion in the home after 7 a.m., the system learns that and keeps the temperature higher until the time you usually come home. You can also set a schedule or vacation settings from your phone. If your home is getting too warm or too cold, you’ll get a notification and can see why.

Remote Access:

Some HVAC systems have Bluetooth technology and remote access. Suppose you notice your system isn’t cooling as effectively. You can have your AC technician connect remotely and diagnose issues without having to come to your home.

Discounts and Incentives:

No matter what happens, you need to be able to afford the new system. Almost a quarter of people who needed costly repairs admit they don’t have the money. Your comfort comes first. Work with an AC installation technician who offers financing and participates in the Florida Power & Light instant rebate program.

The federal government provides tax credits to people who upgrade to an energy-efficient AC system and complete other improvements like insulation, new doors and windows, or alternative energy like geothermal, solar, and wind power.

Additional Considerations That Improve AC Efficiency

SEER2 and EER2 are certainly important considerations, but the most important is to find a qualified HVAC contractor who takes time to determine the perfect system size for your home’s needs. 

If the sun comes in a window or patio door, it can raise a room’s temperature by approximately 5ºF. If you take steps to keep the sun from warming your home, it’s going to help a lot. Invest in room-darkening blinds, plant shade trees, and cook outside as much as you can on the hottest days.

Central AC isn’t a one-size-fits-all HVAC system. If your system is undersized, it will run constantly to try to keep the home cool. It will burn out quickly and become costly in terms of repairs.

 An oversized system is just as bad for your wallet. It will cool the home quickly, but it will have to start and stop a lot, which also wears out components like the compressor. It also fails to remove humidity from your home, preventing you from feeling comfortable and increasing the risk of mold and mildew.

DIY central AC installation is not a good idea. It’s a job that requires training and expertise in testing and evaluating your home’s ducts, size, exposure to the sun, and insulation. Even if you think you’re capable, you could end up with a system that fails to deliver what you want. Hire an expert.

All Year Cooling is a qualified provider for central AC installations and attic insulation upgrades. Choose us and enjoy instant rebates through Florida Power & Light.

All Year Cooling