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What is a SEER Rating? – Get the AC Performance You Need!
Air Conditioning Units & SEER Ratings

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What is a SEER Rating? – Get the AC Performance You Need!

In the scorching heat of summer, few things offer respite quite like the cool breeze from an air conditioner. But have you ever wondered what makes one AC unit more efficient than another? Enter the SEER rating – A SEER rating tells you exactly how energy-efficient the unit is. The higher the rating, the better the unit’s efficiency. When you’re considering AC installation, it’s important to make sure that you check this rating for any unit.

SEER stands for “Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio“. It’s a measure of an air conditioner’s efficiency over an entire cooling season, expressed as the ratio of the total cooling output provided during the season to the total electrical energy consumed. Essentially, it tells you how efficiently your air conditioner converts electricity into cooling power.

SEER ratings typically range from 13 to 25 or more, with higher numbers indicating greater efficiency. For example, a SEER 16 air conditioner is more efficient than a SEER 14 unit. The U.S. Department of Energy sets minimum SEER requirements for different regions, with warmer climates generally requiring higher SEER ratings to meet energy efficiency standards.

A more energy-efficient unit might cost a little more upfront, but this is recouped quickly when it comes to what you save in energy every month.

Why SEER Ratings Matter

  • Energy Efficiency: Higher SEER-rated air conditioners consume less electricity to provide the same amount of cooling compared to lower SEER models. This translates to lower energy bills and reduced environmental impact.
  • Cost Savings: While higher SEER-rated air conditioners may have a higher upfront cost, they often result in long-term savings due to lower energy consumption. Over time, the savings on energy bills can offset the initial investment.
  • Environmental Impact: Energy-efficient air conditioners with higher SEER ratings consume less electricity, reducing the demand for fossil fuels and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. By choosing a high SEER-rated unit, you can contribute to environmental conservation efforts.
  • Comfort: Efficient air conditioners with higher SEER ratings can maintain more consistent indoor temperatures and provide better humidity control, enhancing overall comfort levels in your home or office.

Factors Affecting SEER Ratings

Several factors can influence the SEER rating of an air conditioner:

  • Size and Capacity: Oversized air conditioners may have lower SEER ratings because they cycle on and off more frequently, reducing efficiency. It’s essential to choose the right size and capacity for your space to maximize efficiency.
  • Design and Technology: Advances in air conditioning technology, such as variable-speed compressors and multi-stage cooling systems, can significantly improve SEER ratings by optimizing energy usage based on cooling demands.
  • Installation and Maintenance: Proper installation and regular maintenance are crucial for achieving and maintaining optimal SEER ratings. Poor installation or neglected maintenance can lead to decreased efficiency and higher energy consumption.

What Is A Good SEER Rating?

It’s only in the last thirty years or so that we’ve started seeing HVAC equipment rated for energy efficiency. Back in the early nineties, a rating of about 9 SEER was fairly common. So, if you have a unit that dates back to this stage, your unit is not likely to be very efficient.

It was only in 2005 that the minimum rating of 13 SEER for all new units was made law in the United States. What’s considered a good rating today? 13 SEER is the lowest rating for new units today, so it’s regarded as the minimum. For the average residential home, look for a rating of around 16 SEER.

It’s also important to understand that the SEER rating is calculated based on the most efficient performance of the unit. In reality, the unit may not perform as well. There are a lot of factors that should be taken into consideration here.

The size of your home, the layout of your system, and the thermodynamics in your home will determine precisely how efficient the unit is. As a result, a unit rated 20 might only be capable of working at a rating of 16 once installed.  

Before making your final decision, it’s a good idea to get a pro in to take a look around. They will then be able to advise you on the best model to use in your home. It’s not always necessary, or even a good idea, to opt for the highest SEER-rated models.

How Can It Save Me Money?

SEER rating reflects a unit’s potential. It will never exceed that rating, but it might not always be able to work at that rating. SEER ratings will vary. If the ideal circumstances exist, your unit will perform at the maximum rating.

Over time, however, the energy efficiency is bound to drop a little. As the unit ages, it will become less efficient. If it’s properly maintained, it will perform at its peak for a long time to come, so it’s essential to maintain it well.

If the SEER rating is variable, why is it important to take it into account at all? It’s simple – the better the efficiency potential of the unit, the better it will perform. A unit rated 15 will never be able to perform at the same peak efficiency as a unit rated 20.

Starting with a better rating gives you the potential for much better efficiency overall. If you’ve used a company that knows what they’re doing, they’ll match you with the best unit for your circumstances.

They’ll take things like the size of the house and the climate in your area into account. By choosing the optimal efficiency for your area, you’ll get a unit that will save you money on your electricity bill without breaking the bank initially. You won’t be paying for performance you won’t be able to get.

That said, choosing a unit that is on the higher side when it comes to the SEER rating means that you’ll get to save on your power bill every month. Those savings add up really quickly.

Choosing a New AC Unit

When it comes to choosing a new AC unit, it is essential to look for the best model for your home. The higher the SEER rating, the more potential the unit has in terms of energy efficiency. That said, the rating should be viewed as a guide. Understanding the significance of SEER ratings empowers consumers to make informed decisions about their air conditioning systems, balancing efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and environmental impact.

As you embark on your journey to enhance your home’s cooling efficiency, consider reaching out to Cruz Air & Electric for a comprehensive evaluation by expert AC technicians. With our expertise and personalized recommendations, you can ensure optimal comfort, savings, and sustainability for your home. Don’t hesitate to take the next step toward a cooler, more efficient home—contact us today at 281-446-4272.

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