SEER Ratings — Why are they Important?

When the time finally comes to upgrade or replace your old air conditioning unit, understanding SEER ratings is one of many ways to give you a picture of how efficient your new system will be.

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and is expressed as a two-digit number that usually ranges from 13 to 25. To arrive at a unit’s SEER rating, a mathematical formula that divides average seasonal cooling output by average seasonal energy input is used. The resulting quotient of that formula is the unit’s SEER rating.

Higher SEER ratings mean more efficiency and — as a rule of thumb — when the SEER rating increases, so does the price.

Which SEER Rating is Right for Your Home?

Simply choosing the highest rating for your new or upgraded air conditioner can be a waste of money, and determining the right rating for your new system isn’t as simple as choosing a number. You must consider the size of the new system, how long you anticipate living in your home, your regional climate and how often you expect to use your system. It’s advisable to speak with your HVAC professional and allow them guide you through the process of choosing the right system for you home.

If you want to do some basic research on SEER ratings, Energy Star has a downloadable Energy Savings Calculator (Microsoft XL format) that can assist in deciding which SEER rating is best for your new unit.

SEER Ratings Label

Did You Know?

  • Air conditioning units account for more than 15% of home energy use.
  • Many older air conditioning units can have a SEER rating as low as 8.
  • The Federal government will offer tax credits for installing more energy efficient units (check with your HVAC professional for details).

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