Consumers shopping for ACs may ask, “What is SEER?” This term stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. In short, it is a measure of air conditioner efficiency. Knowing a system’s cooling output provides a way to compare different air conditioners and find one suited for your home, family, and climate.
An AC unit’s SEER is the ratio of its cooling output over the cooling season divided by its energy consumption (as determined in Watt-Hours). A system’s SEER ratio assumes a constant indoor temperature throughout the cooling season. Outdoor temperatures are simulated to range from 60℉ to 100℉+. The SEER number assigned to a unit is its maximum efficiency, but not always how it’s going to work; an air conditioner’s SEER can vary just like a car’s miles per gallon rating, as it is dependent on operating conditions.
What Are the SEER Rating Requirements?
Standards for air conditioning efficiency have changed over the years. In 1992, central ACs were required to be at least 10 SEER. In 2006, this was increased to 13 SEER; in warmer regions like the South and Southwest, it was raised to 14 SEER. Regulations will be updated in 2023 to require a minimum of 14 SEER for the Northeast and 15 SEER for the Southern U.S. A high-efficiency unit can have a rating up to 23 SEER.
Why Do I Need a High-SEER AC?
The SEER number of most modern air conditioners ranges from 13 to 21. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the unit can run, and the more you can save on your energy bill. Also, a lower SEER system may operate only on or off, meaning the fan and compressor will run at full speed whenever on. In higher SEER systems, a two-stage compressor can operate at low and high speeds, effectively shifting gears depending on the load. It can therefore run more efficiently in more stable temperatures.
Higher SEER air conditioners also run more quietly. They use less fuel as well, so are more eco-friendly. You’ll also be more comfortable in the summer, especially if you live in a hot climate. The ability to run at different speeds helps control humidity, which lowers the apparent temperature, while more consistent operation reduces uneven heating or cooling, so you won’t experience hot and cold spots from one room to another.
SEER Rating and AC Cost
The higher the SEER of an AC unit, the more you can save in cooling and heating costs. For example, a 20 SEER unit is 43% more efficient than a 14 SEER unit. But this does come at a cost because higher SEER air conditioners tend to be more expensive to purchase. Whether a unit is worth investing in depends on your climate. If it runs nonstop in a hot climate, you’re more likely to see a quicker return on investment than if you live in a cooler region. Federal tax credits are available for split systems with a minimum of 16 SEER, so can yield some savings by installing a reasonable efficient AC.
Call Sky Heating & Air Conditioning for Help
“What is SEER?” is a good question and we hope we’ve helped clarify it for you. Our technicians specialize in high-efficiency air conditioners with variable speed technology and other great features. They’ll size a unit properly and set it up so it performs as efficiently as it’s designed to. Portland area customers depend on us for custom system design and to replace their existing older units. To schedule AC installation and repair in your home, call 503-673-9083 today.
Consumers shopping for ACs may ask, “What is SEER?” This term stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. In short, it is a measure of air conditioner efficiency. Knowing a system’s cooling output provides a way to compare different air conditioners and find one suited for your home, family, and climate