If you have ever wondered about the numbers on the stickers posted on air conditioners, here’s the one you should know about the most.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is the unit of measurement used to gauge the energy efficiency of an air conditioner.
The SEER rating of an air conditioner is indicative of how well an air conditioning system performs during hotter seasons against the typical cooling season.
The cooling season is generally from the 1st of April through the 31st of October. It is when a cooling system is most important to maintain indoor temperatures at satisfactory levels.
Before buying a new cooling system, you can look at its SEER rating to determine whether it’s the best air conditioner for your needs.
But what is it?
What is a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER Rating)?
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio.
The United States Department of Energy (DOE) implemented the SEER system to help Americans determine more efficient systems from less than energy-efficient air conditioners.
SEER ratings for air conditioning units tell us whether they possess an HVAC unit with high-efficiency systems. The higher SEER ratings that air conditioners have, the more efficient the unit.
An air conditioner with a lower SEER rating entails less efficiency. Less overall efficiency means higher energy costs. While an AC unit with lower AC SEER ratings is more affordable upfront, it will cost you more later.
The higher the SEER rating of an air conditioner, the lower the energy costs. Higher SEER ratings mean your utility bills won’t go through the roof when temperatures reach an all-time high in the summer.
However, seasonal ratings aren’t the only factor in measuring energy efficiency.
Difference Between SEER and EER
The Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) is another measurement deployed by the Federal Government.
Where SEER measures your air conditioner’s seasonal performance, an EER gauges the cooling ratio and how much electrical input is needed to produce it.
EER is typically measured during peak cooling temperatures. A SEER rating is calculated during the peak of hotter seasons instead of typical temperatures during cooling seasons.
Still, there are more than just two rating systems.
There are three, including the Heat Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF).
HSPF measures the efficiency of an air conditioner’s heat pumps, which are critical to the entire system.
While there are three, the essential rating potential end-users should look out for is still SEER.
Minimum SEER Ratings by Region
As advised by the Federal Government, the minimum SEER rating is 13 SEER. However, in other regions, the minimum SEER rating is 14 SEER.
In Greenwood, IN, the weather is fair. In typical households across the state is a lower SEER rating of one digit SEER AC systems.
While the climate in Indiana is fair, the tally for its cooling hours per year runs the national median of 800+ hours. A new AC unit with a higher SEER of at least 16 will help Hoosiers achieve maximum efficiency.
16 SEER and higher is energy-efficient, but it may come at too high a cost. To save money on utility bills, you must spend more upfront for high SEER AC units.
However, you don’t have to spend that much for a good SEER rating.
What is a Good SEER Rating for Any Air Conditioner?
A good SEER rating is anything above 13 SEER.
A new air conditioner with a high SEER system of 14 SEER and above is favorable. It’s affordable and reliable in any climate.
An AC system with efficient heat pumps and variable speed functions can help lower or heighten indoor temperatures more efficiently.
While heat pumps don’t sound like something that can help you during cooling seasons, it actually plays a pivotal role in cooling systems.
How Does a Heat Pump Help with SEER?
A heat pump helps manage heat to condition indoor air accordingly.
Outdoor air goes through a heat pump to be appropriately conditioned before being released indoors. The process helps air conditioners produce more satisfactory temperatures and maintain your preferred indoor air quality.
A heat pump also filters indoor air by extracting the heat indoors, allowing only cooler temperatures to remain. It plays an essential role in the entire air conditioning system and helps determine its SEER ratings.
Benefits of a High SEER Rating or Ratio
A sophisticated system will be able to manage the heat with less energy. The advanced technology within its HVAC systems leads to its high-efficiency air conditioning.
Lower SEER ratings indicate intermediate technology at best. Older AC models with mediocre SEER ratings will use up more energy and cost you in the long run.
How much energy is used by an air conditioner will always reflect on energy bills. Still, there are other factors air conditioners without a higher SEER rating will affect.
Its impact is not exclusive to your latest energy bill.
While homeowners might notice the difference in their energy bill, its real impact is felt within the environment.
An air conditioner using less energy causes fewer environmental impacts, which lessens its carbon footprint. An energy-efficient AC unit will help prevent a surge in your energy bill and cultivate a more sustainable surrounding environment for you and your family.
How to Choose the Best SEER Rating for You
High SEER ratings are excellent. Still, instead of looking for a higher SEER unit, look for the right SEER rating for your home.
What constitutes a higher efficiency system differs between regions and indoor areas. You will need the help of a professional to help you determine what your space’s needs are.
As for figuring out your SEER rating, it can be as simple as looking at your unit’s box or as complicated as calculating it yourself.
How Do I Know the SEER Rating of My Air Conditioner?
Look for a yellow or off-white sticker on the side components of your air conditioning unit. The sticker should come with black markings with small letterings and larger numbers.
You might be able to find the SEER rating of your air conditioning unit there.
Where Else Can I Find SEER Ratings?
However, for central air conditioners, you might have to look elsewhere.
Stickers are harder to stick on the indoor units of a central air conditioner.
Traditionally, if there are indicative stickers, you will find them on its outside component, known as its condenser.
If there aren’t any stickers, you may also examine their box. The higher the SEER rating, the more chances you will find its indications anywhere on AC units.
An air conditioning unit may not have SEER ratings printed on its body or package, but you may also find it within its user manual.
If you can’t find it anywhere, there’s one way you can compute it yourself.
How to Compute for SEER Rating
Within all AC units are an HVAC system.
An HVAC system requires different formulae to function.
Its formulae consist of different units of measurement like the British Thermal Unit (BTU) and Watt-Hours. These two units are imperative for calculating SEER.
An Example of SEER Calculations
BTUs are typically found on the model number of your air conditioning unit or its packaging.
To compute for SEER, you will need the baseline of summer hours which is one thousand.
- Multiply your AC unit’s BTUs to 1,000 to get your BTU product.
- Find your air conditioner’s Watt-Hours on its box, remote controller, or user manual.
- Multiply the Watt-Hours also to the baseline of summer hours, 1,000. This will give you your Watt-Hours product.
- After getting both products, we will use them in the next equation to get the final quotient.
- Divide the BTU product by the Watt-Hours product.
- Its quotient will give you your AC unit’s SEER.
[(BTU/hr)(baseline summer hours)] / [(Watt-hours)(baseline summer hours)] = SEER
What Else Can I Do to Find the SEER of My Current System
If you aren’t keen on procuring a new AC unit, you can check your current system’s SEER by looking at its model number.
You can find it indicated on stickers anywhere on your unit. Even on ductless mini-split systems, you might be able to find it at the bottom of the unit.
You can call the manufacturer and provide them with the model number to ask for its SEER rating.
On a side note, even the most professional HVAC technician will tell you that ductless mini-split systems make the most efficient air conditioning units.
We Are Here to Help You Navigate Your Home Cooling Needs
At Complete Comfort, our expert technicians will help you figure out whether a single-stage system or two-stage system is what’s best for your home.
Generally, AC systems with a variable speed function make more efficient air handlers than others, but not all spaces require them to drop electricity costs.
Some experts might immediately suggest costly AC units and tell you this is how you can save on costs.
While that may be true, the improper installation of which may cost you more down the line. Such is the case with an improperly maintained evaporator coil and other components.
Why Choose Complete Comfort?
Don’t be fooled by quick and easy fixes. The installation of costly cooling systems won’t solve all your problems.
Complete Comfort technicians will help you figure out your needs and solve them with more sustainable solutions with the utmost transparency.
Call (317) 535-5073 today!
Brittany is a marketer, entrepreneur, and writer with previous business development experience in the home maintenance industry. She currently manages the marketing for Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing and has a passion for helping people by simplifying seemingly complicated topics related to home maintenance and repair.