What Does SEER Really Mean?
Understand what SEER means when making decisions.
Like at school and work, your air conditioner needs to have a review and get a progress report. The government has developed two rating systems for air conditioners as a way to grade them. One, Energy Star, is probably familiar to you, but the other, SEER, is likely something new.
Let’s see what kind of grade your A/C unit has. After all, the cool kids usually have higher grades.
What Is SEER?
SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency rating. Higher SEER ratings mean better energy efficiency.
Essentially, the more heating or cooling the unit produces for each unit of energy consumed, the higher the rating will be. SEER is akin to Energy Star ratings, although they are different.
In the US, residential heating and cooling systems manufactured since 2005 are required to have a minimum SEER of 13. In Arizona, however, given our high average temperatures, the government has made a different rule. As of January 2015, the minimum SEER for HVAC units sold in our region is 14.
Additionally, Energy Star-qualified air conditioners must have a SEER of at least 14.5.
Although we don’t tend to use them in Arizona, window units are exempt from these requirements.
The highest SEER a large A/C unit can get is 23, although most hover much lower than that. A SEER of 15 is considered good and anything higher than 16 qualifies as high efficiency in residential units.
How to Incorporate SEER into Your Investment
If you are in the market for a new heating and cooling unit, you should take a number of factors into consideration. If energy use and cost are important to you, you’ll get more out of a higher rated unit than you will a lower rated one.
In fact, a high-efficiency HVAC system can cut your energy bills in half in comparison with the older models that had an average 8 SEER. Even increasing the rating just one point can have measurable rewards when it comes to your monthly bill during our 100ºF+ summer days.
The SEER number on A/C units is not always clearly listed, but you can ask your trained dealer about the unit’s rating and specifics you’ll want to consider before you buy.
These specifics can be based on the size of your home and how much you want to spend now versus long-term savings. Often, spending a bit more money upfront can result in significant annual savings in energy costs.