In the market for a new air conditioner or plan to need one soon? It’s not simply a matter of swapping out your old unit for a new one. Air conditioning units continue to advance from a technological standpoint and are designed and engineered to run more efficiently than the unit you’re likely replacing. A key metric you’ll want to consider as you shop for a new AC unit is its SEER rating. In this post, we’ll cover what you need to know about it.
SEER Rating Explained
SEER stands for “Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating,” and it’s a metric used primarily to gauge the air conditioning and heat pump cooling efficiency in an air conditioner. This is calculated by dividing the cooling output by energy input during a typical cooling season. A good way to think about the SEER rating is the same way you think about other efficiency standards, like miles per gallon on a vehicle. For example, if a car gets up to 40 miles per gallon, that’s its maximum efficiency. If an air conditioner has a SEER rating of 15, that’s also its maximum efficiency.
How to Gauge SEER Rating
When it comes to air conditioner efficiency, the higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the air conditioning unit and the less money you’ll spend to run the unit while in season. Beginning in 2016, the United States Department of Energy began requiring all newly installed AC units to have a minimum SEER rating of 13. This was a big improvement from the energy-sucking units of previous years, many of which only came with a SEER rating in the single digits. As of 2015, the minimum SEER rating was bumped to 14 for people living in states that tend to have the hottest summer weather. Kentucky is among these states.
Today, the most commonly installed units have an average SEER rating between 15 and 18, though higher efficiency models with SEER ratings into the 20s are also available.
Other SEER Rating Considerations
Higher efficiency tends to come with a higher price tag, and air conditioning units are no exception. In fact, even just selecting an air conditioning unit with a SEER rating that’s slightly higher than a similar model could cost over $1,000 more. Hence, it’s important to understand the SEER rating and your potential savings when you’re shopping for new AC units.
Additionally, estimated SEER rating savings aren’t always iron-clad – there are various other factors that play a role as well. For instance, home location and size should be weighed when it comes to selecting a new AC unit. Another consideration is humidity. If you live in an area with high humidity, a unit with a higher SEER rating can help keep your home more comfortable while saving energy. If you live in an area with mild summers and low humidity, a unit with a lower SEER rating should suffice just fine, and you’ll save upfront costs on the unit itself.
What Type of Air Conditioner Do I Need?
If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner, then chances are the unit you’re going to purchase to replace your old one is going to be much more efficient. Air conditioners can last anywhere from 15 to 20 years, so you may even be replacing an inefficient unit with a SEER rating in the single digits. If you’re serious about sustainability, you can use a SEER rating calculator to estimate the potential savings based on SEER ratings. The official U.S. Department of Energy website also has various resources available to help with your purchasing decision.
Air Comfort of KY can help you determine what type of air conditioning unit would be best for your home. We’ll work to understand your budget and energy efficiency goals to pair you with the right unit that checks all the boxes. Contact us for a consultation today if you’re in the market for a new air conditioner.
Contact Us Today
For more information on SEER rating and to schedule a consultation to select a new air conditioner for your Louisville-area home, contact Air Comfort of KY, Inc. today.