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Thread: SEER rating

  1. #1
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    Default SEER rating

    If any HVAC gurus are out there today I have a question about my personal house HVAC SEER rating.
    We recently had a new house built and our builder told us we would have a 14 SEER system.
    The AC company set Trane XR 13 outside compressors. I checked with the Trane web site and it stated the XR 13 can be a 13 or 14 SEER unit. So I let it go figuring it must be 14 SEER, we have been very pleased with our builder and they had been quick to take care of any concerns I voiced.
    I kept thinking about it and decided to check a little further. I sent to Trane the model numbers of the inside coil and outside unit. They sent me an ARI certification stating my set up was a 13 SEER system.
    I took that to my builder and he said that I was correct that the units were 13 SEER, but, since they use a 2 speed blower system they get a 14 SEER rating.
    What do ya'll think. It makes some sense, but, after three years of inspecting I am always a little suspicious of builders and subv-contractors.
    Thanks,
    Buster

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: SEER rating

    I would tell your builder that, unless he gets a certification from Trane stating otherwise (contrary to the one they gave you), the "system" which was installed is 13 SEER, not 14 SEER as contracted for.

    *IF* the builder gets his letter, make sure the model numbers match the model numbers which were installed.

    Otherwise, if Trane says it is a 13 SEER system, *IT IS* a 13 SEER system.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
    Byron Lentz's Avatar
    Byron Lentz Guest

    Default Re: SEER rating

    Jerry is right!


  4. #4
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    Default Re: SEER rating

    The blower makes a difference.
    The SEER rating is for the complete system, not just the condensing unit and coil.
    Send the request back to manufacturer with the specific Blower, coil, and condenser model and serial numbers.
    If you have the variable speed indoor blower, it is more energy efficient and will up the rating for the entire system.
    I just replaced mine last year and the same condenser unit was used for both the 13 and 14 SEER unit.
    I chose the 14 Seer installation with the variable speed blower.
    This unit uses a soft start motor that ramps up to full speed after a minute or so and ramps down slowly also.
    It also will run at about 10% speed continuously on about 70 watts if chosen on the thermostat.
    Jim

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  5. #5
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    Default Re: SEER rating

    "If you have the variable speed indoor blower, it is more energy efficient and will up the rating for the entire system."

    Jim is correct, however ... the manufacturer should be able to tell that from the model numbers, which you sent them.

    As I said, and Jim confirmed, "Otherwise, if Trane says it is a 13 SEER system, *IT IS* a 13 SEER system." (bold and underline is the part Jim confirmed)

    Think "system".

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: SEER rating

    Jerry, we are going the same place, but if you will notice, the model number of the blower unit was not sent to start with, thus my recommendations to go back to the manf.
    More complete information might yeild more accurate results.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  7. #7
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    Thumbs up Re: SEER rating

    Jerry, Jim and Byron, Thanks for the replies.
    I have sent the complete system information back to Trane. I did not send in the blower model and serial number the first time.
    I did call an old friend that has an AC company, don't know why I didn't call him in the first place. I guess it is more fun to come here and TIJ to learn stuff.
    He confirms blower speeds can affect SEER rating and felt sure that we were getting a higher SEER (from 13 to 14) with the 2 speed blower, but, he also confirmed the best source of info was Trane.
    Thanks again guys.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: SEER rating

    Jim,

    I guess I am just used to the "blower unit" being "part of" the AHU.

    There would be the 'condenser unit' with its model number. There would also be the 'air handler unit' (which contains both the evaporator coil and the blower as one unit) with its model number.

    I can see where if you have a 'furnace' (gas, fuel oil, etc.) with an evaporator mounted to it, you would have many more model numbers to deal with. I suspect that is what you are describing, right?

    In 1996, in South Florida, we replaced our a/c system (condenser unit and air handler unit) with one rated at 14.6 SEER. That rating was based on the 4 ton compressor, the 5 ton air handler with variable speed fan. At the time, it was just one step down from the highest SEER Carrier had (but that next step, to a 16 SEER, was a real expensive step up and not worth it). When I replace the one at this house in a few years, 20 SEER units will likely be available at a cost I can afford.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: SEER rating

    You are exactly right Jerry. It is a gas furnace. This is a two-story home with two seperate systems. Both are three ton evaporator and condensor coils with 80,000 btu natural gas fired furnaces.
    You talked about the blower unit being part of th AHU. I did the same thing when I first sent the info into Trane. The evap coil info was right on the outside of the attic unit and the other data plate for the furnacer involved removing covers. I assumed the model numbers were the same , so I did not bother to open the furnace up and look. Turns out it is three different parts, outside condensor, evaporator coil and furnace/blower.
    You are also right about the expense of the higher SEER units. They have a 19 SEER available that I think the builder stated was a 15,000 dollar upgrade (my price may be a little off, I just remember thinkng, OH HECK NO!!!).
    I was also a little surprised when I first found that my evaporator coil was the same size as the condensor. Around here going up 1/2 ton on evap is pretty normal, although, I've always been told that industry standard is a matched size.


  10. #10
    Kevin VanderWarf's Avatar
    Kevin VanderWarf Guest

    Default Re: SEER rating

    $15,000 !!!!

    You would have to expect somewhere around $200 to $250 per month in energy savings during the life of the system to make up that amount.
    Unless your AC runs year round, then you could justify a mere $100 to $125 per month.
    Thats a bend over and take it price.


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