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Old 05-14-2012, 08:47 AM
 
185 posts, read 206,954 times
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Question Upgrade to 16 seer in new build?

I am looking at Fulton Homes and we can upgrade the ac to a 16 seer from a 14 seer, is this a worthy upgrade? The house will be around 2500 sq. ranch. Price is around $600 for the upgrade. Am I over tinkling this since the
house is already energy star?
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Old 05-14-2012, 08:49 AM
 
Location: Arroyo Grande, California
5,295 posts, read 3,301,961 times
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I build in Texas, for $600 I would do that. The minimum ratings are only going higher, so you'll be better off in the long run. Ten years ago most houses had 10 or 12 SEER. What kind of insulation?
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Old 05-14-2012, 08:56 AM
 
Location: Sonoran Desert
15,858 posts, read 18,609,065 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dadof2divas View Post
I am looking at Fulton Homes and we can upgrade the ac to a 16 seer from a 14 seer, is this a worthy upgrade? The house will be around 2500 sq. ranch. Price is around $600 for the upgrade. Am I over tinkling this since the
house is already energy star?
Take the 16! This is going to save you 10% or more per month on cooling costs. You'll pay back in no time and you will be helping the planet. $600 more in your mortgage is not even going to be noticeable but the monthly savings will be.
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Old 05-14-2012, 08:59 AM
 
185 posts, read 206,954 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slo1318 View Post
I build in Texas, for $600 I would do that. The minimum ratings are only going higher, so you'll be better off in the long run. Ten years ago most houses had 10 or 12 SEER. What kind of insulation?
R19 wet spray cellose in walls with R30 in ceilings. Glad to know it will be money well spent!
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Old 05-14-2012, 09:17 AM
 
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Knowing folks in the a/c business, one of the problems with the high SEER units is that they are very finely tuned to get the very high level of performance, and it's tough to keep them finely tuned over the years, so you tend to lose that highest increment of performance on high end units over the years. Or so people I now in the a/c business tell me. And then there's the problem of the new refrigerant not working well on the handful of hottest days each year, but not much you can do about that one.
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Old 05-14-2012, 09:23 AM
 
Location: Oxygen Ln. AZ
8,282 posts, read 10,066,596 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dadof2divas View Post
I am looking at Fulton Homes and we can upgrade the ac to a 16 seer from a 14 seer, is this a worthy upgrade? The house will be around 2500 sq. ranch. Price is around $600 for the upgrade. Am I over tinkling this since the
house is already energy star?
Husband said that is certainly worth the upgrade for that size house. Not a bad price at all.
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Old 05-14-2012, 09:40 AM
 
Location: West Side!
70 posts, read 75,616 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dadof2divas View Post
R19 wet spray cellose in walls with R30 in ceilings. Glad to know it will be money well spent!
Might be worth another $800$ and upgrade your ceilings to r-50...there will be another savings.......and your home will stay cooler to boot!
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Old 05-14-2012, 09:58 AM
 
Location: Gilbert, AZ
1,836 posts, read 2,289,259 times
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[mod cut]

Fulton uses 14 SEER (actually 14.5 as indicated on the EnergyGuide labels on ours) as their standard, however, if you want to upgrade to 16 SEER, I'd say go ahead.

Last edited by observer53; 05-14-2012 at 11:11 AM..
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Old 05-14-2012, 02:57 PM
 
Location: Phoenix AZ
2,900 posts, read 3,343,127 times
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Let me be the naysayer of the group and say probably not. Over 90% of the seer rating is derived at temperatures below 90 degrees. That means that you'll save a ton of money in areas where it's humid, and you're running the a/c when it's 80, and you'll save about nothing in a dry climate like Phoenix, where many don't even turn on the air until it hits 90.

Here's the exact "weight" given to performance vs. outside air temperature:

67F----21.4%
72F----23.1%
77F----21.6%
82F----16.1%
87F----10.4%
92F----5.2%
97F----1.8%
102F---.4%
-------------
Total = 100%

http://hvac-talk.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=448402&page=3

In english - an SEER "10" unit and an SEER "50" unit (if those existed), would draw about the same number of amps at temperatures over 90 degrees <--- like in Phoenix... :-)

Seer is completely meaningless at temps over 102 degrees.

The only way I would do the upgrade is if the upgraded unit has a "two speed" compressor (not a variable speed blower, those are different things!). With a two-speed compressor, the unit will "spool down" on moderate days and draw less energy when it's running. That actually saves money and makes the house more comfortable because the air is circulating more, and it gives the unit time to equalize pressures.

As for the efficiency drop over time, that is true- the indoor cooling coil and blower wheel tend to suck up lint of the air filter isn't changed regularly, which blocks the cooling fins, and makes the blower wheel less effective over time - especially if the homeowner has pets, cooks with a fryer, or smokes inside the home. The good news is that efficiency can be restored if the blower wheel are cleaned out ( usually every five years or so is enough if you keep your filters changed).

So, if the unit has a two-speed compressor, go for it, if not, save your money - there's no way 2 points of seer will pay back $600 over the life of the unit.

Last edited by Zippyman; 05-14-2012 at 03:23 PM..
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Old 05-14-2012, 03:29 PM
 
Location: Gilbert, AZ
1,836 posts, read 2,289,259 times
Reputation: 689
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zippyman View Post
Let me be the naysayer of the group and say probably not. Over 90% of the seer rating is derived at temperatures below 90 degrees. That means that you'll save a ton of money in areas where it's humid, and you're running the a/c when it's 80, and you'll save about nothing in a dry climate like Phoenix, where many don't even turn on the air until it hits 90.

The only way I would do the upgrade is if the upgraded unit has a "two speed" compressor (not a variable speed blower, those are different things!). With a two-speed compressor, the unit will "spool down" on moderate days and draw less energy when it's running. That actually saves money and makes the house more comfortable because the air is circulating more, and it gives the unit time to equalize pressures.

As for the efficiency drop over time, that is true- the indoor cooling coil and blower wheel tend to suck up lint of the air filter isn't changed regularly, which blocks the cooling fins, and makes the blower wheel less effective over time - especially if the homeowner has pets, cooks with a fryer, or smokes inside the home. The good news is that efficiency can be restored if the blower wheel are cleaned out ( usually every five years or so is enough if you keep your filters changed).
So, if the unit has a two-speed compressor, go for it, if not, save your money - there's no way 2 points of seer will pay back $600 over the life of the unit.
FYI, our floorplan (the Caribbean Series Cayman, about 2700 sq ft) has two A/C units. Not sure about the OP's floorplan. Also, our home has exhaust vents in each room to prevent pressure buildup. I presume this is standard in all new Fulton Homes.

Last edited by Pink Jazz; 05-14-2012 at 03:40 PM..
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