Simple Guide to SEER Rating

SEER rating guideWhen you shop for a new HVAC system, you will hear an earful about efficiency ratings. These days, air conditioners, furnaces and heat pumps proudly proclaim how efficient they are on their labeling, as manufacturers compete with each other on offering homeowners savings through reduced energy use.

What Is SEER?

For air conditioners, you need to understand the SEER rating. SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio, and is the unit’s cooling output for a typical cooling season, divided by the electric energy input. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the equipment.

What SEER Do You Need?

As you might expect, the higher the SEER, the more expensive the air conditioner will be. Most homeowners assume that paying for the top equipment will earn them the best energy savings, so they’ll save a lot of money. While that may be true, it isn’t always true.

For instance, the level of efficiency you get from any equipment, whether it’s your ancient clunker with a SEER of 8 or 9, or the newest and most sophisticated technology, with a peak SEER of 21 or more, will depend on several factors, such as these:

1. The quality of the A/C installation.
2. Whether or not the A/C capacity was sized right for the home.
3. The shape, design and condition of the ductwork.
4. Whether or not the home is properly air sealed and insulated.

If you address all these factors adequately before you choose your air conditioner, you might find that a SEER of 14 (the lowest SEER that the government permits to be sold in hotter states such as Texas) will provide adequate savings. By using a formula that your HVAC consultant can explain to you, you can figure average savings based on the cost of electricity in your area. You might find you want to opt for a higher efficiency unit of 15-18, and that the savings you are likely to realize would be adequate to justify the cost.

For more on your new A/C’s SEER rating, contact CCAC. We provide Corpus Christi-area homeowners with HVAC repairs, maintenance and installations.

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    David Mathewst David Mathews is the owner of CCAC Air Conditioning and Heating. A Corpus Christi native... More »