Buying a New Air Conditioner? Check the SEER Rating
Preparing for a new air conditioner can be exciting, but then you start to wonder if you are going to get the right one. Each air conditioning unit has a SEER rating that you can use to get a sense for its efficiency. Here are a few things you should know about this rating.
How SEER Ratings Work
If you begin the process by searching for new air conditioning products, you’ll notice the SEER rating as an important listing in the specifications. For most units, the SEER rating ranges from 13 to 25 or more. SEER refers to the seasonal energy efficiency ratio. The rating starts with the output and divides it by the energy the unit consumes, giving you a ratio. When a manufacturer creates a new model of air conditioner, they run a bunch of tests on it to see how efficient it is. Those tests are standardized so that when you compare them, you’re getting a true apples-to-apples comparison. These standards involve:
- Temperatures from 60 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, to mimic a variety of summer climates
- A minimum amount of cooling hours per day
- An average number of cooling days per year
The absolute minimum rating for a new unit is 13 in the northern U.S., and 14 in the southern U.S. Higher numbers indicate greater efficiency, and in places like Florida, you may get a better return on your investment by choosing something with a higher SEER rating. Just keep in mind that you’re not guaranteed a set amount of efficiency by purchasing a particular unit. The SEER rating is the best you’re going to get, and a lot of factors can affect it.
Choosing the Right SEER Rating for Your Home
Since the SEER ratings are standardized across all climates, you’re not necessarily going to see the same kind of efficiency here in Florida than you would in a place with milder, shorter or drier summers. Still, you wouldn’t be alone if you thought that buying the highest number you can is your best bet. While efficiency is very important in managing your home’s cooling, you should know that there are other things to consider:
- Unit size, in BTUs or tons
- Professional air conditioning installation
- Regular maintenance
In short, you can buy the most expensive, high-efficiency unit on the market, but you may not get the best efficiency if you can’t ensure that it is the right size or that it was installed correctly. It’s always a good idea to ask your technician about the best unit for your home. If the one you have is nearing the end of its lifespan, you’ll probably see a big difference in output or energy consumption regardless of your choice.
SEER rating is a useful way to distinguish air conditioning units, so it’s wise to understand it. If you’re wondering how to maximize your air conditioning output with a new air conditioner, contact us at Airrific Air Conditioning & Heating.