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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.
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