What Is a Good SEER Rating for Air Conditioners?
Jun 21, 2021
Your air conditioner’s Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) can tell you a lot about how efficient your system is. If you have a broken down AC system or want to replace an old one, you’ll often see companies putting a lot of emphasis on their unit’s SEER. As you look for the perfect system for your home, you can make a more informed decision by knowing what SEER you should be looking for in a new AC unit.
Learn more about what SEERs are and what ratings are considered good. You may also be interested in finding out more about some of the benefits of choosing a system with a higher SEER rating.
What Is a SEER Rating?
Before we dive in—let’s answer one of the most common questions we get from customers: “What exactly is a SEER rating?” SEER (or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is a specific type of rating designed to measure an AC’s cooling efficiency. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficiently an AC unit uses energy.
How is a SEER Rating Calculated?
Companies determine their AC’s SEER rating by calculating their AC’s cooling output ratio for a cooling season and then dividing it by the AC’s total energy input. These metrics are determined by testing how an AC unit performs with a constant indoor temperature and various outdoor temperatures—which can range from 60-degrees Fahrenheit to 100-degrees Fahrenheit. By combining a constant indoor temperature and varying outdoor temperatures, companies can effectively simulate a standard cooling season.
It’s important to keep in mind that a unit’s SEER rating represents its maximum efficiency potential. Just like how a car’s miles-per-gallon can change based on whether it’s flying down the highway or stuck in traffic, an AC’s unit can change based on a variety of factors. Some of the primary factors that can impact your AC’s SEER include:
- Air filter state
- Mechanical issues
- Needed repairs
- Thermostat settings
- Sun exposure
- Thermostat calibration
- Outdoor temperatures
While SEERs can change based on a few factors, AC units with higher SEERs will deliver more consistent energy efficiency. As a result, you may want to choose an AC system with a higher SEER.
What is a Good SEER Rating for AC Systems?
Due to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the federal government currently mandates that any AC system must have a minimum standard of 13 SEER. If your AC was installed before this date, you may have an HVAC system with only eight or nine SEER, leading your home to use much more energy than it could with an updated system.
Though the minimum is 13 SEER, you can find many systems that go up into the 20s. Generally, a good SEER ranges from 14 to 16. However, ACs that can deliver a SEER in the 20s will often give you greater efficiency. As you look for an air conditioner, you may also want to check your state regulations, as they may have a higher SEER standard than the federal government.
Benefits of a High SEER Ratings
Generally, units with higher SEER ratings come with more expensive upfront costs. However, they provide several benefits that can offset the higher upfront expense. For example, they can give you greater long-term savings and a higher level of comfort, especially if you’re in a hotter area where you need to have your AC running longer.
As you decide on a new AC system, consider some of the benefits of choosing AC units with higher SEER ratings below:
- Greater temperature and humidity control: Due to a high SEER AC unit’s use of modulating technology, it tends to give people greater control over the temperature they want their entire home to be set at. Additionally, since these AC units typically come with a variable speed compressor, they tend to do a better job at keeping a home’s humidity levels at a low level.
- Increased energy savings: An AC unit with a higher SEER is typically more efficient than one with a lower SEER. As a result of this energy efficiency, your system won’t use as much energy, leading to lower monthly energy bills.
- Better indoor comfort: Another great benefit of AC units with higher SEER ratings is their ability to provide you with increased indoor comfort throughout the cooling season. Since units with lower ratings typically only run on a single-speed or are single-stage, they tend to unevenly cool your home. An AC unit with a higher SEER unit will cool every room of your home on a more consistent basis.
Despite the many benefits of AC units with higher SEERs, you can still receive great performance from those in the 14 to 16 range. Since SEER only represents the maximum performance of a unit, an air conditioner with a high SEER rating may still deliver more mid-range performance in certain situations.
If you live in an area with high humidity or places that have longer cooling seasons, a unit with a higher SEER can be well worth the investment. However, if you don’t experience a lot of humidity and live somewhere with a mild climate, an AC with a mid-range SEER can still deliver excellent energy efficiency and performance.
Turn to Newcomb and Company for Your AC Installation and Replacement Needs in Raleigh
For homes and businesses in Raleigh, Wilmington, or the surrounding areas, you’ll want to turn to Newcomb and Company for your new HVAC system. Our team of professionals will evaluate your home and help you determine what SEER you should be looking for in an AC unit. After our evaluation, we’ll set you up with a unit designed to deliver the best efficiency and cost savings possible. Additionally, we can keep your system running at peak performance throughout the year with our comfort contracts.
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