SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio, and it is a rating of how efficiently an air conditioner uses electricity for cooling. The SEER measures air conditioning and heat pump cooling efficiency calculated by the cooling output for a typical cooling season divided by the total electric energy input during the same time frame. A SEER rating is a maximum efficiency rating, similar to the miles per gallon for your car. Your car might get 28 miles per gallon on the highway, but if you’re stuck in city traffic it could be lower. If your air conditioner is 14 SEER, that’s its maximum efficiency.
You select the SEER of your air conditioner when it is purchased and installed. The higher the SEER rating, the better. There is a wide range of SEER ratings in the DFW area. Most units older than 2005 will have a SEER rating of 10 or less. However, the new minimum SEER rating for DFW is 14. Other common SEER ratings that you may encounter are 15, 16, 17, 18, and 20.
Air conditioners with lower SEER ratings are usually single-stage and only run on one speed. This means they’ll frequently turn on and off during mild weather and you’ll experience uneven cooling or hot and cold spots. You’ll also experience higher humidity levels which makes it feel hotter than it actually is. Your A/C needs to run for a long period of time to remove humidity from your home’s air. The ups and downs of a single-stage system don’t accommodate for this.
The price goes up with the SEER rating, but so do the comfort features like: variable speed air flow, multi stage and variable stage cooling, and humidity control. There’s no magic SEER number. Anything over 14 is great. Because if you have an old 8 SEER system and replace it with a 16 SEER unit, you could significantly reduce the cost of cooling your home.
Don’t forget to look at tax credits and manufacturer’s rebates that can bring down the cost of a high SEER system. You can also feel good using fewer fossil fuels, which means fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
If you have more questions about SEER or want to invest in a new cooling system, get in touch with Gentry Air Conditioning today. Our friendly HVAC experts can work with you to find an energy saving option that’s the perfect fit for your current home or when your building your new energy efficient dream home.