All A/C units aren’t created equal when it comes to efficiency. The SEER rating is one number that tells you several important things when shopping for a new central air conditioner.
In air conditioning systems, “efficiency” refers to the amount of cooling a unit provides in ratio to the amount of electricity consumed. Knowing the SEER rating is a quick way to compare a specific air conditioner to other similar units at a glance, as well as estimate cooling performance and operating costs.
How SEER Is Determined
In laboratory tests, operating conditions over a typical cooling season are simulated. An indoor temperature in the mid-70s—the average temperature for home comfort—is utilized for the test along with outdoor temperatures varying from 60 degrees to over 100.
During the test period, electrical consumption in total watt-hours is recorded.The final SEER is a ratio calculated by dividing the BTUs of heat a unit extracted by total watt-hours of electricity consumed. The result is a numeral between 13 and 25. Federal law requires all new air conditioners in our geographic zone to have a minimum SEER rating of at least 13. The higher the SEER, the more energy-efficient the air conditioner.
When evaluating air conditioners you’ll find the SEER number printed on the yellow EnergyGuide label provided by the Department Of Energy on every new air conditioner, as well as included in manufacturer’s specifications.
More Facts To Consider
- A higher SEER rating usually means less energy consumption and lower monthly operating costs.
- Most air conditioners with SEER above 14 incorporate advanced technology like variable speed compressors and blowers which provide more precise temperature control to enhance indoor cooling.
- Generally speaking, higher SEER means a steeper purchase price for the unit. However, lower operating costs should eventually compensate for that initial upfront price. Your HVAC contractor can advise you on ways to determine whether the time frame required for payback meets your specific budget and long-term goals.
For advice about using the SEER rating to make an informed decision when shopping for a new A/C, contact the cooling pros at Aggressive Mechanical.