Climatemakers Ltd. of VA
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Why must I replace my indoor coil?

"…beginning on January 23, 2006, when the U.S. Department of Energy mandated that all new cooling units would have a SEER rating of 13. Formerly the minimum SEER rating was 10. The new 13 SEER rating was almost a 30% increase in efficiency and represents among other things, a serious change in design."

IMPORTANT UPDATE:

"…beginning on January 1, 2015 the U.S. Department of Energy mandated in the Southeast all new cooling units will have a minimum SEER rating of 14. Which equates to almost another 10% in efficiency."

On the plus side, the mandated increase has many benefits, not the least of them being a substantial decrease in the annual amount of energy required to operate the nation's cooling systems. On the minus side, there is a glaring problem when it comes time to have an existing condenser with a SEER of 10 or less replaced.

That's because the outdoor unit (condenser) is only half (although the most expensive half) of a split-system. The air handler, refrigerant lines and evaporator coil, constitute the inside half of the system. Working in tandem, the outside and inside units must be matched in size and efficiency for best results (and to avoid damaging the new unit that may result in costly repairs, to say nothing of frustration and inconvenience).

  • The emphasis on "high efficiency" during the past few years has brought about some startling technological changes in equipment.

In order to produce a SEER of 13, manufacturers had to drastically redesign their systems. The new units are considerably larger in physical size and require strict adherence to connecting the condensing units to matching indoor coil units, using the correct size refrigeration tubing with the correct refrigerant charge, if the desired results are to be obtained.

When new, your air conditioner or heat pump should have consisted of 5 properly matched components:

  1. Indoor evaporator coil and or fan coil

  2. Outdoor condensing coil

  3. Correct sized refrigerant tubing

  4. Properly sized circuit protection

  5. Properly sized electrical wiring

When properly assembled, they will produce a specific amount of cooling at a specific rated efficiency. Capacity and efficiency ratings are produced by the manufacturer under strict testing conditions. Any substitution of any of the components will produce a variation in either capacity or efficiency (or both).

When an old outdoor condensing unit fails, it is very important that the indoor coil be matched and replaced at the same time for a number of reasons.

First and formost:

  • State Code now requires all new and replacement of existing equipment be ARI matched to certify Government mandated efficiencies.
  • Impossibility of attaining capacity and efficiency ratings of the new condensing unit if the indoor coil is not changed.

Some other important reasons are:

  • New equipment operates with R410A a newer environmentally friendly refrigerant. Older indoor units are not built to withstand the higher pressures that R410A operates with.
  • It is very common to have compressor failure in a new unit after just one or two years when an old indoor coil is used.
  • The warranty does not protect you from compressor failure due to an old indoor coil. Manufacturers can require the indoor unit model and serial number. If not a matched system they will disallow and void the outdoor unit warranty.

At the very minimum, if maximum efficiency, reliability and safety are to be achieved, we highly recommend replacing the condensing unit and the indoor coil plus a very careful check of refrigerant lines, circuit protection and wire size.

Remember: The company You Choose To Install and Service Your System Will Determine The Degree of Comfort and Satisfaction You Enjoy.

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