Shopping for a new air conditioner requires you to compare brands, HVAC companies, and price. An additional term to consider when choosing a new AC unit is the SEER rating. If you are in the market for a new unit, educating yourself on this important number could end up saving you in the end.
What Does SEER Stand For?
SEER = Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio
SEER refers to the maximum efficiency rating of your air conditioning unit. Presented as a ratio, SEER is calculated by taking the cooling output of an air conditioner over a standard cooling season divided by the energy the unit uses during the same time frame. SEER ratings are similar to your car’s gas mileage. When you are driving in city traffic, the gas mileage is less because your car needs to work more than when you are driving on the highway. Your AC unit will work more in the summertime, the SEER will let you know how efficient it will work while working harder.
What is considered a “Good SEER Rating”?
There is no magic SEER number or direct answer to this question. While a higher SEER rating means your unit is more efficient, it does not translate to more comfort inside your home. The size of your home, current ductwork, and other factors contribute to the true efficiency of your system. It is recommended to consult with a professional before you decide on a new air conditioner if you are concerned about the efficiency of your system.
If you have an older air conditioner currently installed, it likely has a SEER rating of 8 or 9. Installing a newer unit will already make your system noticeably efficient. In Arizona, a new air conditioning unit is required to have a minimum SEER rating of 14. You will be able to see changes in your utility bills, regardless of the rating.
What are the advantages of a higher SEER?
- Lower Utility Bills – Higher SEER rated air conditioning units will utilize less energy, which will result in lower utility bills. While a higher SEER rated unit will have a higher upfront cost, the savings in utility bills can help justify this additional cost.
- Credits and Rebates – Through government tax credits and manufacture rebates, a higher SEER rating can end up costing about the same as a standard unit. Be sure to ask your HVAC provider before you make your unit selection what incentives are available.
- Environmentally Friendly – As a high efficiency unit utilizes less energy, less greenhouse gas emissions are released while the unit is running. Not only is a highly efficient system good for your wallet, but also good for the environment.
- Lower Humidity – While we do not see a lot of humidity in Arizona, a high efficiency system can help remove moisture from the air inside your home. Lower SEER rated units frequently turn on and off, rapidly cooling the air. Not properly removing the moisture from the air can promote mold growth and other problems.
While shopping for a new AC unit can be intimidating, you do not need to do so without professional guidance. Reliable Air Conditioning is available to assess your current AC system and provide you with the best new unit option for your home. Contact our team for a FREE in-home estimate.
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