Comprehensive testing has been performed on hundreds of homes by researchers and utilities to measure the actual operating efficiency of systems after installation. This testing has shown that most systems are operating with efficiency losses between 15% and as high as 50% in some cases. Problems most often revealed are a result of poorly designed duct systems that do not allow for proper air distribution.
These types of deficiencies dramatically lower the SEER and capacity of the system. The system is not able to deliver the cooling of which it is capable. A 14 SEER air conditioning unit will operate as low as a 9 or 10 SEER device. In short you don’t get the comfort or the efficiency your paying for. Our experience has shown that significant air duct leakage is the norm rather than the exception. It is routine to find air conditioning systems that are drawing hot and unfiltered attic air into the home causing excessive utility cost and poor indoor air quality. A 20% duct leakage in a 5-ton air conditioning system is equivalent to wasting a ton of air conditioning or in dollars and cents, about 500 dollars per year. Multiply that times the life span of 15 years and the increased cost are substantial. Quality really does matter.
This is a reality that can be attributed to a business environment that concentrates on low first cost and lowest bid without regard to future operating cost or occupant comfort. Purchasing air conditioning systems on the lowest initial cost is rarely the best value. The installation of the equipment, the sizing and design of the duct system, and proper start up procedures will dictate future operating cost, life-span, reliability, and actual indoor comfort.