Need help fast with SEER rating of AC?

Old 01-28-02, 04:54 PM
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Need help fast with SEER rating of AC?

My new home is about 3/4 of the way done and they installed my 2 AC/Heat pumps last over the weekend.
The builder's website, (Click "Construction" on left side), states that they install High Efficiency Central Heat and Air with Heat Pump. The units they actually installed are Trane XE-1000's, rated at 10 SEER. 10 SEER is the lowest rating that can legally be sold. My understanding is that High Efficiency doesn't start until 12 SEER, which is the minimum rating for Energy Star qualification.

Trane's own website list the XE-1000 as standard efficiency. Their XE-1200 is the lowest model labeled as High Efficiency and has a SEER rating of 12.

I explained this to my building supervisor and told him what is advertised on their company website. He told me that while they advertise "High Efficiency" it doesn't reflect a particular SEER rating.

I gave him printed copies of all my evidence and explained that this was very important to me. I explained how their person who helped me select all the features I wanted on my home told me that the units would qualify for an "Energy Star" rating (12 SEER).

He asked me if I had any paperwork indicating the SEER rating. GRRRR .

I finally deepened my voice and interrupted him and told him the following:

Your company advertises "High Efficiency". Since the minimum SEER rating that can be legally sold is 10 SEER, the units you installed are at the bottom of the ratings chart. Based on that I would say that your claim of "High Efficiency" is blatant false advertising.

He stayed calm and told me he would have to check with the company and see what they can do and that he would call me tomorrow.

I thanked him for being patient with me and for taking the time to hear me out.

Do I have a leg to stand on? Is my position on this sound?

If they decide to balk on this what should I do?
Old 01-29-02, 05:47 AM
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A few years ago a SEER 10 was considered high efficiency. The Energy Star Program just came out last year and set new standards for incentives. And yes you're right, this unit does not qualify for a rebate. What you're experiencing is becomng more and more widespread. Builders better get used to the idea that people have access to information by just clicking.

Unfortunately, the builder will probably not upgrade the unit. It will actually be cheaper for him to give you the rebate out of his pocket than to upgrade. As far as your arguement concerning high efficiency, he will argue that it is. The Energy Star Program or Trane does not have the right to the term high efficiency. In other words, anyone can use the term, it doesn't mean that it is.

If this builder is involved in building several homes, then he has a problem. This is where you have the most leverage. He knows the impact on sales if this gets out. What's more are the homes he already built with this unit. Though an energy efficient home is subjective and you cannot legally win, it does not mean you cannot use this same subjectivity to your advantage and get what you want.

My advice to you would be meet with the builder's representative and let them say all that they can about the subject. Get as many sources of information you can before the meeting and use them during the meeting. When you feel they spent all their reasons, then politely say, " I was led to believe by your advertising that the home you're building for me would be energy efficent through the use of techniques and products. Since we disagree what is high efficiency, this apparently falls under "BUYER BEWARE". Though they can argue their perception, they can't argue your's and others.
Old 01-29-02, 10:34 AM
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Thanks for all your comments. After a good nights rest I have cooled down now. I thought about all that you have posted and realized this is my fault for not specifying something so important to me. I called the manager and apologized for the way I responded on the phone. He was greatful and understood but informed me that his hands were tied. He beleives my story but unless it was requested as an upgrade the homes come standard with a 10 SEER unit. He is however, checking to see if he can get me a deal on upgrading it during the construction.

I'm still not happy but hey, at least it's a Trane.

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