Choosing an air conditioning unit is not an easy task, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. Whether you’re building a new home or replacing the AC from your current home, sifting through the seemingly endless brands and models can feel overwhelming if you’re not familiar with the terms and specifications. Luckily, you only really need to know a few if you have a trustworthy HVAC company on your side, one of them being SEER ratings.
What is a SEER rating?
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating is the measure of cooling efficiency for air conditioners and heat pumps. SEER ratings are calculated by dividing the energy output (cooling capacity) of a typical cooling season by electrical energy input over that same time period. The “cooling season” is when the unit undergoes the most strain, meaning it has the ability to be even more efficient than the rating suggests less strenuous weather.
Simply put, the SEER rating directly tells you how energy efficient your potential air conditioner is. SEER ratings currently range from 13 to 25, with most units ranging from 13 to 21. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the unit is.
Choosing a “Good” SEER Rating
The United States Department of Energy sets a range of standards that HVAC manufacturers must meet for their products, including efficiency standards. The minimum SEER rating required by the DOE is 13, but it rises to 14 in many Southern states where the climate is hotter — this includes Mississippi. Because of this, many homeowners view 14 SEER units as low-end models.
However, it’s important to understand that any AC unit you buy now, even 14 SEER units, will be far more efficient than your old AC unit, which is like only 8 or 10 SEER. It’s not that lower SEER ratings are inefficient, but they aren’t as efficient as a 20 SEER unit. It all depends on your cooling needs and budget.
Why is SEER so important?
While no one denies that energy efficiency is important, some homeowners wonder just how important SEER ratings are to their choice. The answer? Very important. SEER ratings provide a scale for energy efficiency, yes, but that scale also gives buyers a good idea of how much money they’ll spend on the unit and how much it will save them in the long run.
The higher the SEER rating is, the more money you’ll save on monthly energy bills (that’s how energy efficiency works). However, you’ll spend more on the unit upfront because achieving such high efficiency requires better materials and technology. For example, you can expect a moderate upfront price and decent energy savings over time from a 15 SEER unit, but you can expect to pay a lot more upfront and save a lot more money on energy bills over time from a 20 SEER unit. As the SEER rating and upfront price increase, so too do your long-term savings.
When it comes to choosing a new AC unit, count on Ball Heating & Air Conditioning to help you find the best one for your home and budget. Our expert team will walk you through the buying process and ensure that you have a quality, stress-free AC installation.
Contact us today to get started.