SEER Ratings Guide

If you’re shopping for a new air conditioning system, you perhaps have come across the term “SEER rating.” What exactly does this rating mean, and why is it important? Use this SEER rating guide to discover everything you need to know concerning AC efficiency ratings and the latest minimum SEER rating increase enacted by the federal government.

What Is a SEER Rating?

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, which is a measure of how well an air conditioner cools your home — or, to describe it another way, how well it removes heat from the indoor air. The SEER rating is scored by dividing the cooling output of an AC unit by the electrical power it consumes across a full season. Higher SEER ratings suggest a more energy-efficient air conditioning system.

What Is SEER2?

SEER2 is the recently updated SEER rating system that considers real-world consumption patterns and local climate data. This new metric took effect in January 2023 to give a more accurate depiction of an AC system’s energy efficiency.

Different from the former SEER rating system, which only considers an air conditioner’s energy efficiency in controlled conditions, the SEER2 metric delivers homeowners a more authentic picture of how an air conditioner will operate once setup in their home. For this reason, you can expect SEER2 ratings to be a lower number than SEER ratings, despite the fact that they exhibit the same performance.

What Is the Federal Minimum SEER2 Rating in 2023?

The US Department of Energy (DOE) determines minimum efficiency standards for cooling systems. In 2023, the minimum SEER ratings for central air conditioners improved to 14 SEER (13.4 SEER2) in the northern U.S. and 15 SEER (14.3 SEER2) in the southern U.S.

This is the first efficiency rating change since 2015, when the required minimum ratings were required to be 13 SEER in the north and 14 SEER in the south. The DOE called for any new AC systems marketed and installed in the U.S. to reach the new minimums. However, homeowners with lower efficiency air conditioners are not required to replace them.

How Do SEER Ratings Impact AC Prices?

Cooling systems with higher SEER ratings are likely to cost more upon purchase than the ones with lower SEER ratings. This happens because ACs with higher SEER ratings incorporate more innovative technology and materials to achieve higher performance. The good news is that while air conditioners with higher SEER ratings may require a larger investment, they can save you money over the long haul by lowering your utility bills.

For instance, imagine comparing a pair of central air conditioners. System A has a SEER rating of 14 and costs $3,000, but System B has a SEER rating of 18 and costs $4,000. While System B costs more up-front, it could possibly save you 22% on your utility costs in comparison to System A. Contingent on the climate and electricity costs where you live, this could add up to hundreds of dollars in financial savings over the next few years, making System B a more affordable option over time.

Why Choose an AC with a Higher SEER Rating? 

You don’t have to settle for the minimum SEER rating in your region, not when today’s most efficient systems are rated 26 SEER or higher. Look at the various benefits of purchasing such a high-end system:

  • Energy savings: As stated earlier, ACs with higher SEER ratings are a great deal more energy efficient. By utilizing less energy to achieve the same cooling output, a superior unit can help you save considerably on your cooling bills every summer for the life span of the system.
  • Environmental impact: Less energy consumption translates to fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Selecting an AC with a higher SEER rating reduces your home’s carbon impact and adds to a more sustainable future.
  • Improved comfort: Higher SEER-rated cooling systems are more hi-tech, with functions such as two-stage compressors and multi-speed fan motors. Not merely does this save energy and money, but it improves home comfort which leads to a quieter, more reliable operation.
  • Higher home value: New, high-efficiency ACs are more desirable to home buyers than old systems with lower ratings. If you’re planning to move, having a high SEER-rated AC system can improve the resale value and give your property an advantage to potential buyers. This offers you yet another way to recoup your original investment in a high-end air conditioner.

Install a New AC Unit Now

Now that you realize what SEER ratings to consider, it’s time to go shopping for a replacement air conditioner. Turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for a review of today’s best HVAC systems. You can save on your electricity or fuel bills for many years to come by installing an efficient AC unit that conform to or exceeds the federal minimum SEER2 rating. We’re so sure you’ll be pleased with our services that we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee! For more information or to plan a free AC installation estimate, please call a Service Experts office near you.

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