You may have heard about SEER ratings. Today, we’ll go over what these ratings mean and why they matter. SEER is all about efficiency, so anyone installing a new A/C system or replacing an old one should know what their new unit’s SEER rating is. It affects your energy costs in the long term, as well as the performance of your cooling system. In a hot, humid climate like ours, this is especially relevant. Air conditioners here have to work hard to keep homeowners comfortable, so energy efficiency is pretty important.
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The U.S. Department of Energy established this designation to educate consumers about the energy efficiency of air conditioning units. SEER is the ratio between the cooling of the unit over one season and the total energy it consumes during that same period. So, the figure measures the overall efficiency of the unit over an entire cooling season.
The higher the SEER rating, the higher the efficiency of the unit. For you, a higher SEER means lower energy costs each month. So, although these high SEER systems cost more up front to buy, they usually pay for themselves in energy savings within a few years.
This chart shows how much you can save if you upgrade to a high efficiency A/C system. For example, your cost to operate the A/C would drop from $100 to $39 if you went from an 8 SEER system to an 18 SEER system. That adds up to a 40% reduction in energy costs. Other variables affect your total savings, such as lifestyle, maintenance and how you operate your system, so be sure to contact us if you’re thinking of installing a new A/C system. Only a professional can tell you which one is right for your home based on all the factors involved.
In January of 2006, Federal minimum efficiency standards for air conditioning units changed. Now, all new A/C units must be at least 13 SEER, and if you’re purchasing an Energy Star unit, you’ll get an even higher rating. The minimum SEER for these models is 14. If you have an existing low-SEER unit, you may continue to use it until it needs to be replaced. However, when the time comes to get a new system, only 13 SEER or higher models will be available to you.
So, know your SEER rating! It will make a big difference in your monthly energy bills and could save you hundreds of dollars over the life of the unit.