What is a SEER rating?

As a homeowner, knowing the intimate details of your HVAC can seem like you’re trying to learn another language. Your Comfort Consultant mentions a SEER rating and all you can do is ask, “What’s that?” In a nutshell, the SEER rating is an important component of any HVAC system used to help define the energy efficiency of a unit.

All About the SEER Rating

air-conditioning-tampa-SEER-ratingSEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It measures the cooling efficiency of heat pumps or air conditioning. In order to find the correct rating, the cooling output for a typical season is divided by the total electric energy input during that time frame. The United States Department of Energy (DOE) has a requirement that all new air conditioners have minimum efficiency ratings designated by SEER numbers. In a nutshell, the less energy used, the higher SEER rating the unit will have.

Another way to consider this: consider the car you drive. The miles per gallon your car gets per gallon depends on how you drive, the amount of traffic, etc. This determines your maximum efficiency. As it relates to heating and cooling systems, the SEER rating is the maximum efficiency rating.


How to Determine a Good SEER Rating?

Because you get greater energy efficiency with a higher SEER rating, that would be most beneficial. If you are considering price, the minimum SEER standard for air conditioners is 14. Most air conditioners SEER ratings range from 13 to 25. A good standard for SEER ratings is between 15 and 18 to capitalize on cost and efficiency. This will help you save on utility costs per month.

Although SEER ratings are used to determine the efficiency of air conditioners, there are some underlying issues. The SEER rating does not always provide an accurate picture of energy efficiency. While SEER measures the performance of an air conditioner at 82 degrees, most air conditioners don’t need a lot of power to achieve that temperature. One thing to note: as the temperature is raised, the cooling capacity is diminished, raising the energy consumption. Using a conventional air conditioner at peak with a SEER rating of 14 doesn’t give you that much efficiency.


Location affected by SEER rating

In the southeastern and southwestern states, the minimum SEER rating was raised to 14. This was done by the DOE, as it was determined these states have the hottest summer climates and an increase in the minimum SEER rating would save energy. These states include Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.


Does the SEER rating affect cost?

Technology helps increase the levels of energy efficiency, but it doesn’t come without a price. The higher the SEER rating, there’s a likelihood of your AC unit costing more. This also depends on the size of your home and the amount of power needed to cool the space. Working with an experienced Comfort Consultant can help guide you to understand how the SEER rating assists in choosing the right unit for your home, and provide the information you need to make an informed decision. Visit our guide to SEER Efficienty Ratings for more info.

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