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Can you tell the difference between the two air conditioning installations above?

The air conditioning installation for both units was done recently. The systems are the same make/model, and they keep the house cool while lowering power consumption. Here’s the catch: one of these systems could cost you over $3,500 more over the next 10 years.

A Few Extra Steps Can Save You Money

The Department of Energy found that over 55% of A/C systems with no reported problems are either over or undercharged between 10-30%. Over or undercharge may result in an average additional cost of $100 PER TON per year. The average house in Florida has a 3-ton A/C system installed. So, at the cost of the time and proper instruments to set the refrigerant charge to the ideal levels, the average Floridian would save $300 per year.

Also, manufacturers recommend removing the optional horizontal drain pan if your unit is installed in the more common vertical application. Leaving the pan would add an additional step to the air conditioning installation process, and the vast majority of A/C installers just don’t do it. Leaving this pan in the unit can cause a reduction of airflow up to 2%. That airflow reduction causes the system efficiency to drop by about 1%. Since the average Floridian spends $700 per year heating/cooling their home, removing this pan would result in cleaner and more sterile air and $7 per year saved.

Importance of Proper Air Conditioning System Refrigerant

When installing a new air conditioning system, it is important to ensure there is absolutely nothing in the refrigerant system except the rated refrigerant. The wrong refrigerant can potentially cause premature parts failures and costly repairs, but the primary issue is that it lowers the power efficiency. Non-condensables in the system will not flow normally through the piping and will build up in the outdoor coil. This causes higher pressures, higher compressor electrical usage, and lower heat transfer. Depending on the type and amount of non-condensables, this can result in up to a 7% reduction in power efficiency. Using the correct refrigerant will result in a power bill savings of $49 per year.

In total (with the average yearly heating/cooling costs per year in Florida being $700), incorrect installation of your new HVAC unit could potentially result in an additional $356 in power charges per year.

Acceptable instead of Ideal refrigerant charge $300
Not removing horizontal drain pan per manufacturer instructions $7
Using the wrong refrigerant and not evacuating non-condensables $49
Total x 10 (for average system life of ten years) $3,560

Total yearly savings of $356 (close to $1 per day) over the 10 years of use amounts to $3,560. You could save that money if you choose the right contractor to install your new air conditioning unit. Make sure you’re using a reputable air conditioning contractor who knows how important these small details can be.

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