When our technicians are out in the field going from home to home they get asked a lot of questions about air conditioners, furnaces, water heaters and air ducts. One of the most common questions we have been hearing lately is about SEER. This post will clarify what SEER is and what it means for your family.
Starting in 1979 the Department of Energy wanted to give homeowners and HVAC professionals a rating system for air condition units. The rating system is the SEER you see on your air conditioner and refers to the efficiency of the unit. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) relays how well your air conditioner converts electricity to cool power based on the cost of electricity. To calculate the SEER, take the output of BTU’s during a cooling season calculated by dividing the total electric energy input in watt-hours during the same period. Did we lose you yet? No worries, the SEER is also marked on the AC unit or you can also call the manufacturer. Just remember, the higher the SEER rating the more efficient your AC is apt to be. This is because the more efficient your air condition unit is the less energy it uses to cool your home.
We say the higher the SEER rating the more apt it is to be more efficient but this might not always be the case. The SEER rating is the overall performance the air conditioning unit can achieve if everything is running at its optimal performance. If there you haven’t had your unit charged and tuned up or if there isn’t enough Freon or refrigerant charge in the air conditioner, you will not be getting the optimal SEER rating out of your unit. Be sure to get seasonal air condition tune ups to be sure your getting the most out of your AC unit.
SEER is not only energy efficient and nice to talk about but it means savings for homeowners like you. The more cooling/heating a system releases for each unit of energy it consumes, the higher rating it will receive. The higher the efficiency rating, the less energy it consumes which means lower utility bills and less of an impact on the environment. So you’re saving money and the world all at once! Now this is all nice and good but how much are you really saving? A SEER 9 AC unit compared to a unit with a SEER 13 is about 30% more efficient. The calculation is (9/13=.69), then (1-.69=.3) This is a savings of about $300 per year or $4,500 over a 15 year life of your AC unit!
Not sure what your SEER rating is? As of January 2006 all of the air conditioner units sold in the U.S. must have a SEER rating of at least 13. It is rare to see any below 9 as of now but some window units have ratings of about 10. If you’re not sure what SEER rating you have and really want to know, call the manufacturer and they should be able to tell you.
If you need a new AC, give us a call and we will give you our best price on a new unit. Hopefully this clears up all the questions about SEER ratings. Drop us a line if you have any other questions and we will be sure to respond. Til next time…..