WHAT IS SEER?
Uncover what you should look for in a SEER rating and how a higher rating will impact your costs and comfort level
It’s tough to give a quick answer here, because a good SEER rating depends on what you’re looking for in a heating and cooling system.
First, the basics. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This is the ratio of the cooling output of an air conditioner over a typical cooling season, divided by the energy it uses in Watt-Hours. It may also be called a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating.
A SEER ratio is calculated over an entire cooling season using a constant indoor temperature and a variety of outdoor temperatures ranging from 60 degrees to 100 plus. This is how it simulates a typical season.
Keep in mind that SEER ratio is a maximum efficiency rating, like the miles per gallon for your car. Say your car gets 28 miles per gallon on the highway. But if you’re stuck in city traffic it’s a lot less efficient. The same goes for your air conditioner. If your SEER ratio is 21, that’s the maximum efficiency and it could be lower depending on conditions.
Benefits of a High SEER Rating or Ratio
Higher Energy Efficiency
A higher SEER rating provides greater energy efficiency in certain conditions. The minimum standard SEER for air conditioners in Florida of 14 and Mexico of 10, though most modern air conditioners have a SEER that ranges from 13 to 21. Hotspot and Greer range from 18 SEER up to 30.5 SEER, and if connected to Solar Panels can operate up to 75 SEER! But don’t forget — this rating is a maximum. The efficiency of your system can vary based on the size of your home, your current ductwork and other variables.
Most older A/C systems are rated at around 8 or 9, so even the lowest available SEER rated system you buy today will be much more energy efficient.
Greater Indoor Comfort
Getting an air conditioning system with a higher SEER does mean you’ll be more comfortable in the summer months, especially if you live in a hot region like the Southeast or Southwest.
Higher SEER units often have 2 components that provide greater indoor comfort.
- 2-stage or variable-speed compressor
Air conditioners with lower SEER ratings are usually single-stage and only run on one speed. This means they’ll frequently turn on and off during mild weather and you’ll experience uneven cooling or hot and cold spots. You’ll also experience higher humidity levels which makes it feel hotter than it is. Your A/C needs to run for a long period of time to remove humidity from your home’s air. The ups and downs of a single-stage system don’t accommodate for this.
So what’s the answer? There’s no magic SEER number. Anything over 13 is good. Because if you have an old 10 SEER system and replace it with a 18 SEER unit, you could significantly reduce the cost of cooling your home.
Don’t forget to look at tax credits and manufacturer’s rebates that can bring the down the cost of a high SEER system. You can also feel good using fewer fossil fuels, which means fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
If you have more questions about SEER or want to invest in a new cooling system, a local Zamna Comfort Specialist can work with you to find an energy saving option that’s the perfect fit for your current home/business or when your building your new energy efficient property.