If you are in the market for a new HVAC system, you will notice that a machine’s SEER rating is frequently discussed. This rating provides crucial insight into how an HVAC unit works, so it helps to understand what a SEER rating is and why it matters. Ultimately, getting the right SEER rating can save you hundreds of dollars.

What Does a SEER Rating Mean?

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The SEER rating on a machine tells how much power the system will use to cool a home. The SEER scale uses lower numbers for a less-efficient machine and higher numbers for one that is more efficient. Typically, the SEER rating you see on an AC system will be its maximum rating. This means that the system will operate at that SEER level when run in optimal conditions, but its SEER rating may drop if you take too long between maintenance appointments or do other things to impair efficiency.

SEER ratings for residential machines can range from as low as eight to as high as 27. Modern air conditioners are required to reach a rating of at least 13 SEER by the U.S. Department of Energy. A SEER rating is technically used just for measuring air conditioners. However, many people have an HVAC system that combines heating and cooling, so you may encounter SEER ratings when looking at heaters as well.

How Are SEER Ratings Measured?

SEER ratings are a little more helpful than some other efficiency measurements because they look at how an air conditioning unit will perform over an entire cooling season. The rating is determined by running the system at a constant indoor temperature while outdoor temperatures range from 60 to 100. The rating is then calculated by dividing the cooling output of the air conditioner by the amount of energy in watt-hours it consumed.

This method of calculating an energy efficiency rating is quite useful because it gives you an idea of the system’s average energy usage. It takes into account seasonal ranges, so it sees how the system would perform through late spring, mid-summer, and early fall. The ability to find the SEER for multiple systems lets you figure out at a glance which machine will be more energy efficient.

What Is a Good SEER Rating?

Now that you know a little about SEER ratings, you might be wondering what rating you should be shopping for. Many older AC systems are still running at a SEER of eight, which is incredibly inefficient. At a bare minimum, you need a machine of at least 13 SEER. The higher you go, the more energy you save. For example, a SEER of 16 can cut your AC power usage in almost half.

At the higher levels, the amount of power saved starts to gradually drop off. However, high SEER machines can also be quite pricey. Getting a machine with a SEER rating of over 18 or so can cost thousands of dollars more. Though a higher SEER will save you a little more on annual energy costs, it is so expensive that it does not make up for the higher initial price tag. Once a machine’s SEER is 21 or higher, you are actually paying more overall.

Can You Increase SEER Value by Swapping Out Individual Components?

In their quests for more energy savings, many homeowners may get the idea that they can add a high SEER condenser or another device to their systems to increase the overall efficiency. This is actually not true at all. Your machine’s overall SEER rating is not an average of the ratings for each individual component. An air conditioner is designed to work as a system, and each part is only as efficient as the rest. A higher SEER condenser will cost more and do absolutely nothing to improve efficiency. In fact, it might impair efficiency by making other parts of your system struggle to keep up.

[Company_name] is here to answer all your questions about improving your HVAC system’s efficiency in the San Antonio area. We can help you find and install a system with the right SEER rating for your home and budget. Our team also assists with repairs and preventative maintenance for your air conditioners and heaters. Call now to schedule an appointment with us.

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