Airrific Air Conditioning and Heating Blog

What is a SEER Rating & What Does It Mean?

If you’re looking to replace your air conditioner, the sheer volume of information you’ll be given can seem overwhelming. With so much to focus on, how could anyone ever hope to keep everything in order and start to comprehend everything in order to make the best possible decision? Well, there’s some good news: our Sarasota HVAC installation experts can make things just a little bit easier for you by explaining one of the single most important measurements that you need to know: the SEER rating.

SEER Rating Definition

To put things into plain and simple English, a SEER rating is a way of measuring an HVAC unit’s overall efficiency. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and essentially compares the amount of air a system produces over the course of a cooling season compared to the amount of energy it consumes in doing so.

This is usually given as a simple number that can easily be found on most units on that giant yellow Energy Guide sticker that comes on them. The higher the number, the more efficient a unit is. However, and this is an extremely important point: a SEER rating is the MAXIMUM efficiency rating a system can run at, and doesn’t guarantee you that efficiency at all times.

How It Works

Do you know what the SEER rating of your current HVAC system is? If you’re like most homeowners, probably not. If your system is 15 to 20 years old, you may be surprised to learn that your system is likely around an 8 or 10 SEER level. You may be tempted to say that your old system worked just fine and you’d like a direct replacement. However, legislation and energy efficiency standards have increased the minimum SEER rating for new systems in Florida to a value of 14. However, some manufacturers have systems on the market that have maximum ratings of anywhere from 21 to 25 SEER.

There’s something important to keep in mind: just because a system has a SEER rating of 14 doesn’t mean that it’s a “bottom of the line” system. In fact, for the overwhelming majority of people who are replacing an 8 or 10 SEER system, upgrading to a 14 SEER is going to be an immense improvement in your overall energy efficiency rating. You’ll see a tremendous improvement in your energy costs just by making this switch, even though it’s to the lowest allowable SEER rating.

Likewise, a higher SEER system may not always be the right choice. Remember earlier how we mentioned a SEER rating is a maximum value? The truth of the matter is in the real world, most people’s air conditioners don’t function up to that maximum standard. In fact, the higher the SEER rating, the more likely it is to drop off in energy efficiency when a few factors aren’t quite right. When you consider the significantly higher price tag these systems carry, you can see how you might wind up spending too much on your new system and not seeing the benefits. Don’t let that discourage you from considering a more efficient system: they will help. However, there’s also no point in breaking the bank making an investment that won’t have the return you think it will.

Have any extra questions about SEER ratings and how they work? Contact our Sarasota HVAC installation team at Airrific Air Conditioning and Heating at (941) 677-5957 today!