What’s a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)?

April 15, 2020

Homeowners who have decided to replace an old cooling system need to understand what seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) means. For folks who want to save money on monthly energy costs, SEER is an important designation to address. Once you know the definition of SEER, and how it can serve you, selecting equipment becomes an easier task. The right SEER can support your indoor air requirements and help you save on energy costs.

What Is a SEER?

The seasonal energy efficiency ratio helps identify the efficiency of an air conditioner. A general rule of thumb is the higher the SEER, the more efficient the unit. The SEER indicates the amount of electricity the unit requires to complete its job of cooling a home or properly sealed environment. Remember, SEER is an indication of maximum potential and not a continual performance level.

U.S. SEER Standards

In 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) revised energy rules to include regional SEER standards that accurately reflect efficiency. This further enables a buyer to whittle down which systems will work best for their region’s climate. This also makes it easier for a nonprofessional to compare systems and ask smart questions when buying. Match the SEER rating on brands and models, and your ability to equally compare equipment becomes a simpler process.

When investigating a SEER, make sure you are reviewing U.S. standards. U.S. SEER and European SEER are different. The Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) have written standards for calculating U.S. SEERs. The Eurovent Certification Company oversees the European SEER calculations. The U.S. DOE enforces minimum geographical SEER requirements.

Basic Cost of Operation

To project your annual cost of operating an air conditioner, you’ll need the SEER of the unit you’re considering and the rate at which your electric company charges for power. You’ll also need to figure the number of hours you will be operating your unit annually. Use this formula to figure the cost: SEER x Hours x Electric Rate = Cost of Operation. This formula is provided by AHRI to help homeowners arrive at a rough cost projection.

If you would like a professional estimate for an AC installation in Greenville, Ken Parker Service, Inc. can help you. We can provide you with the latest information on AC systems for your size home. We welcome your request for an in-home appointment to discuss your home cooling needs with our experts.

Other Cost Factors to Consider

If you’re only looking at the SEER rating to make your decision, you’re missing other important data. The size of your home and the current configuration of your ducting system are necessary components to consider. The length of your summer season and local climate should also be included. Folks who live in a hot and humid climate, typically use their AC units continually. Homes in milder climates may not require 24-hour AC use. An extra week or more of operating your air conditioner can change the overall cost of ownership.

Higher SEER rated air conditioners cost more, so speaking with a trusted professional can help you finalize your plans. A high SEER doesn’t automatically mean you’re getting the right air conditioner for your needs.

What is the Right SEER for My Home?

There is no single answer to that question. The right SEER for your home will likely not be the right SEER for your neighbor’s home. The Energy Star designation is a good way to identify units that are recognized as efficient. Central AC systems labeled as Energy Star are required to have a minimum rating of 14. The minimum rating for any modern AC unit is 13.

The EPA sets the standards for which Energy Star products are selected. Energy Star products include heat pumps, boilers, central air conditioners, ductless mini-splits, geothermal pumps, and more. SEER ratings are used for cooling equipment.

Improving Your Home Energy Use

Equipment manufactured after 2015 is likely to be superior in its performance when compared to earlier equipment. Installing the lowest minimum SEER could make a noticeable difference over the operation of your current setup.

Ken Parker Service, Inc. has been a trusted heating and cooling company in Greenville since 1977. We offer top-rated air conditioner and furnace repairs, replacements, and maintenance for all size properties. Our factory-trained, NATE-certified technicians care about their workmanship and your comfort. Call us today to schedule an appointment for your home.

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