Understanding Air Conditioner Ratings

Understanding Air Conditioner RatingsAir conditioner ratings assign an actual number to A/C characteristics like energy efficiency and noise reduction. When shopping for a new air conditioner, the purchase price doesn’t tell you much more than what you’ll pay upfront. The long-term cost of operation is an X-factor unless you have some basis to estimate what your monthly energy expenses will look like. Similarly, quality of life issues such as A/C noise levels are also an unknown without air conditioner ratings that give you a hard figure to contrast with other competing models.

Two primary air conditioner ratings help you comparison shop and take the guesswork out of making a buying decision:


Short for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, SEER is the HVAC industry’s standard for expressing central air efficiency. A two-digit numeral, the SEER rating for a new air conditioner is hard to miss: it’s conspicuously displayed on the bright yellow EnergyGuide label that appears on every new unit. It’s also in the manufacturer’s published specs for the unit. Stand-out facts to know about SEER include:

  • SEER calculates the ratio between the cooling capacity of a certain air conditioner, expressed as BTUs of heat removed from the house during a specific time frame, versus the kilowatt hours of electricity consumed during that same time frame.
  • SEER ratings begin at the federal minimum of 13 and go as high as the mid-20s—the higher the SEER numeral, the more efficient the unit.
  • A higher SEER rating is generally associated with lower operating costs, though other factors like insulation and the air-tightness of the house also play a role.

SRN and db

You and your neighbors will be happier if your new central air conditioner is a quiet one. Noise ratings come in two flavors: Sound Rating Number (SRN) and db (decibels). For backyard peace and quiet, look for an A/C with an SRN between 75 and 80 or a db of less than 80.

A home comfort institution in Terre Haute since 1922, Paitson Bros. has more information about air conditioner ratings to help make you an informed shopper and satisfied customer.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Terre Haute, Indiana about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air conditioner ratings and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 812-645-6859.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “OpenClipart-Vectors/Pixabay”

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    Jeff Paitson Jeff Paitson is a third generation business owner who continues to run the business with the same values that have been passed down from previous generations since 1922.

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