Posted by: Cooper MechanicalTuesday, December 03, 2019
What is a SEER Number? What is an HSPF Number?
If you are shopping for a new HVAC system, you’ll encounter two acronyms and associated numbers that you may not be familiar with: SEER and HSPF. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and is a value that ranks a system’s efficiency in cooling. HSPF stands for Heating Season Performance Factor, and it’s commonly understood as a comparable score for a unit’s efficiency in heating during cold weather months.
What is a SEER Number?
The SEER number is the ratio between the cooling system output in BTUs and the amount of electric energy a unit consumes in a given period. The lower the number, the more electric energy a cooling system consumes. Conversely, the higher the number, the less energy a cooling system consumes.
The SEER number listed with an HVAC system is always the maximum efficiency, which means the unit is capable of reaching that efficiency, but that it may not always operate at that ratio.
What is an HSPF Number?
The Heating Season Performance Factor, commonly referred to as HSPF, is a heat pump’s efficiency rating. According to Energy.gov, the HSPF is the “total space heating required during the heating season, expressed in BTUs, divided by the total electrical energy consumed by the heat pump system during the same season, expressed in watt-hours.” In essence, it’s a SEER rating for your heating in winter.
Like older AC systems, heat pumps older than 10 years likely have an HSPF number lower than 7.7, which is the current minimum. A system with an HSPF number over 9 can drastically improve efficiency and lower monthly heating costs.
SEER Matters Most in Myrtle Beach
Since we have more hot weather than cold in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, we tend to work our cooling systems more than our heating systems. As a result, consumers should be more concerned with the cooling efficiency of a unit than the heating efficiency, since the system will spend a majority of its time cooling.
SEER numbers on new HVAC systems range from 13 to 20+. The higher the SEER number, the more efficient the unit will be. While high-efficiency systems with large SEER numbers cost a premium, they can offset their costs with lower monthly cooling costs. Considering how much we rely on air-conditioning in Myrtle Beach from Spring-Fall, a high SEER rating can be worth it in the long run.
Call Cooper for Honest HVAC Service
SEER and HSPF numbers are not the only thing to consider. It’s important that your unit is properly sized for your home or business. In many ways, this is a more important consideration as a unit that is too small for your square footage often leads to mechanical problems from the strain of trying to cool too large a space.
R-22 is Done. What Does This Mean for Older HVAC Units?
R-22 Has Been Phased Out
Chlorodifluoromethane, commonly known as R-22, is a colorless gas and a popular refrigerant used in older HVAC systems. It's use has been steadily decreased over the last couple of decades because of its adverse environmental effects. R-22 is a greenhouse gas and a big ozone depleter. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has made it illegal to produce R-22 after January 1, 2020. So that's it for R-22. What is out there now can be used, but once it is unavailable, it will no longer be produced. So what does this mean for people with HVAC systems that run on R-22?
Goodbye R-22: Adapt Now or Upgrade Later
Essentially, the disappearance of R-22 leaves you with two choices: adapt now or upgrade when your current HVAC system breaks or R-22 becomes too scarce or too expensive. It is possible to retrofit your current HVAC system so it will run on R-410A, the refrigerant that has replaced R-22. The skyrocketing price of R-22 is expected as the remaining amounts dwindle. However, most systems still using R-22 are probably nearing then end of their normal lifespan, so replacement is a much more economical decision.
R-22 Users Should Plan Ahead
We completely understand that a full HVAC system replacement is a large cost. If you are currently using R-22, consider budgeting some each month to plan ahead for your eventual upgrade to a R-410A system.
There may even be tax credits that you can take advantage of to help offset some of the costs. Federal tax credits for HVAC upgrades can be found on the EnergyStar.gov website.
Finally, if you plan ahead, you can schedule your retrofit or system upgrade between seasons. Summer in Myrtle Beach is a very busy time for all HVAC companies, and if your old R-22 unit fails, you may need to wait before a new unit can be installed. Planning ahead allows us to schedule an installation during a more temperate time of year.
Call Cooper for HVAC Upgrades in Myrtle Beach
If your R-22 HVAC unit is leaking refrigerant or not cooling like it once was, it might be time to replace it. Cooper Mechanical Services can help you find a properly-sized unit as well as take advantage of any rebates and tax credits that might help offset the cost.
For commercial and residential HVAC sales, installation, maintenance, and repair, Call Cooper!
Looking out the window on a muggy day in late June, I can see the stickiness in the air. The humidity in Conway and Myrtle Beach can be visible, especially in summer months with extreme heat, where humidity levels can make being outdoors downright miserable.
In the coastal South Carolina region, relative humidity typically ranges from 46% (comfortable) to 92% (very humid) over the course of the year, rarely dropping below 25% (dry) and reaching as high as 100% (very humid). With high humidity outside, it is possible that some of that excessive moisture is finding its way into your home.
What are the effects of high indoor humidity?
When humidity levels start to get above the comfortable 30%-50% range and up toward 60% and higher, you’ll notice it. Things indoors will feel moist and sticky, and you’ll probably see the effects of this excess moisture as well.
Here’s what you’ll notice:
Condensation on windows, walls or around bathroom plumbing
Mildew and mold may form
Uncomfortability may lead to sleep problems
Hair may be frizzy (okay, this isn’t as important as others, but some may disagree)
Overall, indoor humidity will be noticeable, but there are some things you can do to fix it.
Here are some low and no-cost solutions to try before you think about moving from Myrtle Beach:
Airflow: To help evaporate the water in the air, keep it moving.
Turn on ceiling fans and position plug-in fans to move air between rooms in your home.
Circulating air is less likely to result in condensation.
Air-Conditioning: Turn your AC thermostat to a “dry” setting, which runs the system’s fans at low speed and your unit’s compressor in intervals to remove excessive moisture from the air. This cycle can help evaporate the moisture without significantly lowering the temperature in your home.
Replace Filters: Dirty and clogged filters may restrict airflow and ventilation and contribute to excessive indoor humidity.
Check for Leaks: Check water pipes for condensation and leaks as well as things like your washing machine and dryer vent. Make sure water and moisture that is supposed to leave your home is not leaking in.
Showers: Try taking shorter or cooler showers to cut down on steam. Although this may not help significantly, long, hot showers aren’t helping anything.
Still too humid? Call Cooper!
Nothing’s worked. Now what? If all else fails, you can try a standalone dehumidifier to help reduce the indoor humidity. You can also call a Cooper Mechanical Services professional to come inspect your home. Cooper Mechanical Services provides fast, reliable service at competitive prices. Don’t be sticky and miserable; call Cooper!
From a purely functional standpoint, a well-lit walkway and front door minimizes chances of injury from tripping or falling. If the path of entry includes stairs or uneven walkways, proper lighting is critical for the safety of you and your family.
Small landscape garden lights can line a walkway, and bullet lamps can highlight door and stairways. Flood and well lights are also helpful in brightening the path from the road to your door.
Does your home have curb appeal? One way to enhance the attractiveness of your home is to use outdoor lighting to highlight architectural features and landscaping. A beautifully lit exterior creates ambiance and warmth in addition to providing safety and security. Looking at home, garden and architectural websites and magazines is a great way to get ideas for creating the perfect outdoor atmosphere with well-placed outdoor lighting.
Modern Outdoor Lighting Solutions Are Smart
One of the great advances of modern lighting solutions are that many manufacturers' products can be connected to your home network and controlled wirelessly via a mobile device. The benefits of automated lighting systems, or smart light, are many. Create custom settings for different seasons, or rely upon sensor controls to adjust the amount of light emitted. Modern technology allows for an unprecedented amount of customization and control, all while maximizing efficiency and cost-savings.
Cooper Mechanical Services has nearly 30 years of HVAC, electrical and refrigeration service in the greater Myrtle Beach area. Let our professionals find the lighting solutions that help keep you safe and secure while also showcasing your home in its best light.