Your New Air Conditioner’s SEER Rating: So What, Exactly, Does It Mean?

If you’ve purchased a high-performance A/C, you’re probably very pleased with the results. But do you know what your air conditioner’s SEER rating really means? Here’s a look at why experts developed the seasonal energy efficiency ratio and how it can make or break your energy bills.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Engineers developed the SEER rating, along with a few other efficiency ratings, to promote a uniform way to define system efficiency. The SEER rating makes it easy for a homeowner to identify an efficient air conditioner. While the process of calculating SEER is rather complicated, understanding it is fairly simple. Here’s what you need to know.

What is SEER?

Simply put, SEER is a calculation that divides a unit’s amount of cooling generated over one season by the amount of electricity that same unit requires to do so. The result is a number that ranges from 13 to 26. Generally speaking, the highest-rated SEER system, a 26, would cost half as much to run as a SEER 13 system.

Use SEER coupled with EER

In humid climates like San Antonio, it’s also wise to look at an air conditioner’s Energy Efficiency Ratio. EER is identical to SEER in that it shows a system’s cooling output divided by its electrical input—but not over the course of a season. Instead, the EER is a “steady-state” rating, similar to highway miles. It expressly reveals the A/C’s performance when the temperature is 90 degrees and humidity is 50 percent. Standard A/Cs begin at EER 11.

Additional information

Here are a few additional pieces of information about high-efficiency A/Cs:

  • While federal minimum standards begin at SEER 13 and EER 11, high-efficiency systems start at SEER 16 and EER 13.
  • You can take advantage of federal tax credits if you purchase a high-efficiency air conditioner this year..
  • As the SEER rating goes up, energy consumption—and monthly energy bills—go down.

If you’d like more expert advice regarding your air conditioner’s SEER rating, contact Beyer Boys. We’ve served greater San Antonio since 1990.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Antonio, Texas area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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