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Can a 14 SEER A/C unit perform at 16 SEER with an upgraded A coil?

bobbyarndt | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

I was quoted a 16 SEER A/C system and the subcontractor installed a Bryant single stage 14 SEER condenser outside. He said he installed an “upgraded” A coil with a TXV in the furnace and that makes up the other 2 SEER.

here is my unit

I have a Bryant 96% efficient 2 stage furnace if that matters

Is that how this works?  I assumed the SEER rating of the system was whatever was printed on the unit and all the manufacturer literature.

If so, How do I know the combination of condensers and coils achieve 16 SEER?  Taking his word for it just doesn’t cut it for me.

Is this an inferior way to achieve a 16 SEER system?  Does it have any disadvantages compared to a standard setup?

Does a 14 SEER AND 16 seer condenser unit perform the same? Aren’t most 16 SEER 2 stage?

It all seems a bit gimmicky and a shortcut to install a 14 SEER but get paid for a 16.  Why wouldn’t he just install a 16 SEER unit outside?

In my mind – I paid for a 16 SEER so I should see that 16 SEER labeled on the outdoor unit.  He says I will still get the 16 SEER rebate but I care more about the system performance than a small rebate.

I don’t know much about HVAC so I don’t want to call him on it unless I have some facts and understanding behind it.

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  1. walta100 | | #1

    I have not heard that fairy tale since the 1980s.

    If it worked and it was that cheap and easy to up the SEER the manufactures would do the lab test and sell the combo as a 16 SEER.

    My gut says it will improve the overall efficiency slightly but it will change the ratio of sensible heat to latent heat. What that means is your system will not remove as much moisture as it should.

    I would not be surprised to find the Bryant had done a lab test on every combo of coils and condensers currently in production. Ask to see the lab report.

    I will sound like broken record and ask if you have seen a manual J calculation and is the equipment and ductwork inside the conditioned space or is it in the attic?


    1. bobbyarndt | | #2

      Both the equipment and ductwork are inside the conditioned space. Nothing in the attic except about 2’ of insulation.

      That is a good point. If it was that easy to do it cheaper - why wouldn’t everyone just do it that way?

      Here is a copy of the manual J.

    2. bfw577 | | #3

      "I would not be surprised to find the Bryant had done a lab test on every combo of coils and condensers currently in production. Ask to see the lab report."

      They have this data available in the first link he posted. Click on the dropdown to change it to the engineering data.

  2. Yupster | | #4

    Seems like it could be legit to me. The surface area of the inside coil has a big effect on efficiency. Like BFW577 said, the webpage you linked to shows a range from 14 to 17 SEER for that unit. If you have doubts, get the model number of the outside condenser, the inside coil, and the furnace, and look it up on the AHRI certified ratings site.

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