What Does An Air Conditioner’s SEER Rating Actually Mean?

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The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating is an important factor to consider when buying a cooling system. It tells you how efficient the air conditioner is in terms of its energy consumption and the comfort it can provide your home. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) recommends a 14-SEER rating or higher for HVAC systems to be used in residential spaces. However, SEER rating requirements vary from one state to the other. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about the SEER rating of an HVAC system.

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What Is An Air Conditioning System’s SEER Rating?

The SEER rating measures the system’s cooling output over its total energy consumption per year. The ratings are usually from 13 to 21, with the air conditioner’s efficiency increasing along with the SEER rating.

Why Is SEER Important?

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Before installing the air conditioner, you must know what the SEER rating (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is so that you are aware of the benefits it can give you. Here are some of them:

  • Lower cooling costs – A highly efficient HVAC system consumes less power while still reaching the desired temperature. Therefore, with the right SEER rating, you can save more on your energy costs.
  • Better comfort – Professional HVAC technicians state that having a fully operational air conditioner can cool a home with four bedrooms in three hours at 10 degrees Fahrenheit. This also depends on the cooling system’s age and size, but having the right SEER rating should provide you with better home comfort.
  • Environmentally-friendly cooling – Air conditioning systems that utilize less energy during their normal operations produce fewer greenhouse gases. Therefore, if you want to have environmentally friendlier cooling in your home, get an HVAC system with a high SEER rating.
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What Is A Good SEER Rating?

A good SEER rating means units have a 14-SEER rating or higher. What is essential is finding out the most suitable rating for your home’s needs. You also need to consider other factors like the size of the structure, your family’s cooling needs, and your preference for your energy consumption rate. Nonetheless, having a high SEER rating means that the system is highly efficient.

Remember that the air conditioner’s efficiency is largely dependent on your home’s size, so it is essential that you have a licensed professional help you determine the right SEER rating for your home. After all, an air conditioner with a SEER rating of 14 can cool a two-bedroom house efficiently, while a house with five bedrooms needs an air conditioner with a higher SEER rating.

How Is SEER Rating Calculated?

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The SEER rating of your air conditioner is calculated by dividing the total cooling output per year by the total electric energy input. The cooling output is determined by multiplying the British Thermal Unit per hour (BTU/h) by the number of cooling hours per day. This is then multiplied by how many days the air conditioner worked in a year. For example:

6,000 BTU/h x 14 cooling hours per day x 180 days per year = 15,120,000 BTUs per year.
If your energy consumption totals 700,000Wh in the year, you will have a SEER rating of:
15,120,000/700,000 = 21.6 SEER

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How To Find An Air Conditioner’s SEER Rating

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, HVAC manufacturers need to indicate the SEER rating of their air conditioners clearly. They are also required to put the Energy Star label on all qualified systems. Therefore, if you need to determine the SEER rating of an air conditioner, look for a yellow and black sticker that’s usually at the side of the condenser unit. The SEER rating should be written on it clearly.

Check the indoor air handler for the SEER rating as well. If there are no indicators on both outdoor and indoor units, you can look for the system’s manufacturer, serial number, and model number instead. You can use this information to look it up online or contact the manufacturer. If this is too much of a hassle, you can always call your local HVAC expert to help you. It shouldn’t be too hard to locate unless the HVAC manufacturer didn’t label the unit’s SEER rating properly.


What Does Mismatched Cooling Systems Mean?

The air handler and condenser unit need to match to achieve optimum air conditioner performance. Manufacturers have designed air handlers compatible only with specific condensers. Therefore, air conditioner installers need to make sure that they install systems that match. Unfortunately, if you have an inexperienced HVAC contractor helping you, you might end up with mismatched cooling systems that won’t work as expected.

The air conditioner size should also match your home. Otherwise, you’ll have a mismatched system in your hand. It could be that you have an oversized or undersized air conditioner for your home. When it is too large, it will lead to short cycling that can cool your home, but it won’t operate long enough for your air conditioner to eliminate excess humidity. It also means that the indoor air isn’t filtered properly. You will feel discomfort and have poor indoor air quality at home. Your system will also consume more energy because the system turns on and off repeatedly.

Whereas, having a system that’s too small means it will have long cycles. The system then works harder, causing its components to wear out faster and need repairs more often. You will also notice a spike in your energy costs. You might end up replacing your system earlier than expected as well.

Although it might have a high SEER rating, an HVAC system’s efficiency is significantly reduced when you have a mismatched system. Therefore, make sure that the HVAC installer you hire understands this. Avoid having to deal with a mismatched air conditioner by consulting a qualified HVAC contractor.

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Other Factors To Consider When Choosing A Cooling System

Aside from the SEER rating, several factors you should also consider when selecting the most suitable air conditioner for your home include:

  • Air Conditioner Size – Cooling systems that are oversized or undersized generally use up more energy to conduct their operations.
  • AC System Price – Make sure to follow your set budget.
  • Air Conditioner Noise – Less efficient air conditioners are noisier because they strain to work as expected.
  • Manufacturer’s Warranty – This helps you get a cheaper, if not free, repair or replacement when you have a defective component or system.
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A good SEER rating brings benefits such as high energy efficiency and low energy costs. An ENERGY STAR certification can also help lower your energy bills further and help you achieve eco-friendlier cooling. Contact an HVAC professional for all your heating and cooling needs and questions. An expert can help you find the most suitable air conditioner and help you maintain it so that it can last you a long time.

Call Townsend Energy For All Of Your HVAC Requirements

te logoContact Townsend Energy when you need superior HVAC services in Northeastern Massachusetts, Southern New Hampshire, and Maine. We hire only the best professionally certified and highly trained technicians who conduct high-quality heating and cooling services, including replacements, installations, maintenance, and repairs. Each of our friendly techs has the right tools and extensive knowledge and experience, so you are sure to receive accurate HVAC services at all times.

Townsend Energy offers one of the most affordable HVAC service prices in the area. Rest assured, our maintenance services can enhance your system’s energy efficiency and your home’s overall comfort while reducing your energy costs. If you need to have your HVAC repaired or replaced, we can provide the best solutions within your budget. We ensure your satisfaction by providing guarantees with all our services. Book a service appointment and give Townsend Energy a call today. We offer free, in-home estimates.

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