Shopping for a new air conditioner can be overwhelming — and a wrong choice now could cost you for years to come. You need to consider many factors when you look at upgrading your home or office HVAC system – and the SEER rating is among the most important of those. Learning more about the factors that go into choosing an air conditioner can help you understand the process and make the best decision for your home or office.
What is SEER rating?
SEER is an acronym for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and is a measurement of how efficiently an air conditioning unit works. Learning the SEER for your existing unit or for a unit you are considering to purchase can help you decide which unit is best.
Understanding the SEER Rating of your AC
Each air conditioning unit has a SEER rating – the higher the SEER, the more efficient the air conditioner. If you have an older system (prior to 2006) your SEER rating is likely 10 or lower – many come in at just 8; by 2006, newer models were required to have at least a SEER rating of 13. With advances in technology, current top-of-the-line units can reach efficiencies of up to 20 SEER. While a higher SEER unit comes with a higher ticket price, the money that you will save on your monthly electric bill can more than make for the additional upfront costs over the long haul.
Keep in mind that AC units can lose around 3-7% in efficiency each year. That means an AC unit with a higher SEER rating will maintain a high efficiency throughout its lifespan and continue to be a wise investment for years to come. Going with a bottom tier unit with a low SEER rating may be affordable now, but you may suffer the consequences of poor air flow, lower efficiency and higher cooling costs down the road.
New SEER Rules for 2015
In 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy set forth new guidelines for newly manufactured HVAC systems in an effort to conserve energy and promote environmental awareness. The region you live in and the type of unit determines the minimum SEER rating of new AC units. Southern and Southeastern states are required to have a higher SEER rating than their Northern counterparts – as of 2015, if you live in one of these states, your new unit will need to have a minimum SEER rating of 14:
Your AC unit is arguably the most important appliance in your home; it is also the one that contributes the most to your monthly electric bill. The AC unit and accompanying SEER rating that you choose today will cool your home for years to come. Thus, it is paramount to make an informed purchase. If you want to ensure that you are living in comfort – and have a unit that is operating at peak efficiency, one of Neighbors AC skilled technicians can help. Our expert technicians can provide you with a FREE in-home estimate on a new air conditioning unit. We will listen carefully to your comfort and budget needs, provide you with cooling cost comparisons on varying SEER rated units, and help you make the most informed decision possible!