How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes

Does the condenser (outdoor unit) SEER rating determine the SEER of an air conditioning system?

Monday, June 25, 2018

The SEER rating of a heat pump or air conditioning system is based on the efficiency of the combination of the condenser (outdoor unit) and air handler (indoor unit). They are required to be matched up by the manufacturer for performance, and the system may have a slightly higher rating than the condenser alone. A system with a 14 SEER condenser may have a 15 SEER overall rating based on the performance with its matched air handler (blower and evaporator coil unit).

    Conversely, a mismatched system of a new condenser connected to a 20-year old air handler will not provide the efficiency rating marked on the condenser. It has been required since 2006 that both the condenser and air handler be replaced when either half fails, unless it can be verified that the new half of the system that the HVAC contractor is switching out is matched by the manufacturer for performance with the remaining component.

    If part of the system was replaced by a contractor willing to do it without the required building permit, the SEER rating efficiency of the new part of the system may not be achieved because of the mismatch to the older component. If, for example, your outdoor unit is LENNOX and the indoor unit is GOODMAN, you definitely have a mismatched system and there is no way to determine the actual efficiency rating. 

    To learn more about the requirement to match condenser and air handler, click on the link below to download a pdf info sheet from the Florida Department of Community Affairs.


• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 

  To learn more about heating and air conditioning systems, see these other blog posts:

How can I find out the SEER of my air conditioner? 

My air conditioner won't turn on. What's wrong? 

How can I find out the size of my air conditioner? 

How can I tell whether the condenser (outdoor unit) is an air conditioner or heat pump? 

Where is the air filter for my central air conditioner and furnace? I can’t find it? 

Does an old air conditioner use more electricity as it ages? 

How did homes stay cool in Florida before air conditioning? 

What is wrong with an air conditioner when the air flow out of the vents is low?

Why has the thermostat screen gone blank? 

Why does it take so long to cool a house when an air conditioner has been off for a while? 

Why is my air conditioner not cooling enough? 

What are the most common problems with wall/window air conditioners?  

Will closing doors reduce my heating and cooling costs? 

   Visit our HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

Water Heaters

Water Heater Age

"What Are The

Signs Of..."

Septic Tank Systems

Structure and Rooms

Plumbing Pipes

Termites, Wood Rot

& Pests



When It First

Became Code

"Should I Buy A..."

Park Model Homes


Shingle Roofs




Wind Mitigation

Roof and Attic

"Does A Home


Pool and Spa

"What Is The Difference Between..."




Concrete and

Concrete Block

Metal Roofs


Modular Homes

Rain Gutters

Mold, Lead & Other Contaminants


Older and

Historic Houses

Crawl Spaces

Mobile-Manufactured Homes

Building Permits

Life Expectancy

Clay Soil





Exterior Walls

& Structures


Common Problems

HUD-Code for

Mobile Homes

Garages and Carports

Flat (Low Slope) Roofs

Electrical Panels

Sprinkler Systems

Electrical Receptacle Outlets

4-Point Inspections

Hurricane Resistance

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Home Inspection

Heating and Air Conditioning

Building Codes

Fireplaces and Chimneys

Inspector Licensing

& Standards

Energy Efficiency

Washers and Dryers



Doors and Windows



Electrical Wiring

Click Below  

for Links

to Collections

of Blog Posts

by Subject

Plumbing Drains

and Traps


Smoke & CO Alarms

Aging in Place

Top 5 results given instantly.

Click on magnifying glass

for all search results.






Air Conditioner & Furnace Age/Size


Electrical Switches





Water Intrusion

Electrical - Old

and Obsolete


Foundation Certifications

Tiny Houses

About McGarry and Madsen



Buying a home in North/Central Florida? Check our price for a  team inspection by two FL-licensed contractors and inspectors. Over 8,500 inspections completed in 20+ years. In a hurry? We will get it done for you.

Moisture Problems

Crawl Spaces