Why Does the SEER Rating Matter?

SEER ratingIf you’re about to upgrade your central A/C, you’ll soon come face-to-face with the SEER rating. Short for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, SEER  is a numeral between 13 and 25 that represents the energy efficiency you can expect from the new unit. Federal law requires the SEER numeral to be conspicuously displayed on the bright yellow EnergyGuide sticker placed on every new unit.

SEER represents a particular air conditioner’s efficiency calculated over an entire cooling season. The laboratory testing process specifies a constant indoor temperature in the 70s along with fluctuating outdoor temperatures from 60 degrees to over 100 degrees. The SEER number you see on the EnergyGuide sticker is a ratio that expresses the BTU cooling capacity of an A/C over an entire season divided by the total Watt-Hours of electricity consumed.

What SEER Tells You

  • When comparison shopping, the SEER numeral is a helpful tool to identify air conditioners that are more energy efficient versus those that are less efficient.
  • Since greater efficiency generally means lower operating costs, SEER also helps predict which air conditioner will be more economical to operate.
  • A/C units with higher SEER ratings typically incorporate more advanced technology such as multi-stage compressors and variable speed blowers. These features not only add efficiency, they also substantially enhance cooling performance and improve indoor comfort.

What SEER Can’t Tell You

  • The SEER rating represents the highest expected efficiency under specific conditions.  It doesn’t guarantee you’ll always get that exact efficiency under all conditions.
  • A/C performance and efficiency depends on many factors in addition to SEER. These include adequate home insulation, sealed ductwork and regular professional maintenance.
  • A high-efficiency SEER air conditioner is always more expensive than a standard-efficiency SEER 13 unit. It’s important to consider whether savings from lower operating costs will compensate for that higher upfront price over the long run. Your HVAC contractor can offer professional advice and experience to make the right choice.

For 97 years, Paitson Bros. has helped Wabash Valley homeowners make informed decisions about HVAC purchases. Ask us about utilizing the SEER rating when shopping for an A/C upgrade.

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