SEER Efficiency Ratings: Know How the Numbers Stack Up?

SEER Efficiency Ratings: Know How the Numbers Stack Up?If you’re planning on purchasing a new air conditioner this year, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with SEER efficiency ratings. By taking the time to educate yourself on what SEER is and what you should look for, you will get the most value from your cooling system upgrade.What is SEER?

SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. An air conditioner’s SEER rating is a numeric representation of how efficiently it’s able to convert energy into cooled air over a season. The more cooling output a system can generate per unit of energy, the higher its SEER will be.What do the numbers mean?

The SEER rating is calculated by dividing the system’s actual wattage consumption into the AC capacity rating (BTU’s)..Example, a 3 Ton cooling system that produces 36,000 BTU’s of cooling at 3000 watts of electricity usage will be rated at 12 SEER. When comparing SEER ratings, you should know that a higher number indicates a higher level of efficiency. In the U.S., all new central cooling systems are required to achieve, at minimum, SEER 13, so if you are hoping to significantly reduce your energy consumption, it’s wise to look for an A/C with a rating above 13. In order to qualify for tax credits on high-efficiency cooling systems, you must select a central air conditioner with a minimum SEER of 16.How can I maximize my A/C’s efficiency?

In order for your A/C to achieve its expected SEER rating, your HVAC contractor must pay attention to:

  • Airflow – Inadequate airflow can dramatically lower your system’s efficiency and your comfort levels. Airflow should be measured during A/C installations and annual maintenance.
  • Refrigerant – Insist that your technician verifies correct refrigerant charge at the time of installation, and at least once annually. If your system is overcharged or undercharged, its SEER will be reduced.
  • Ducts – Have your ducts evaluated before your A/C is installed or if your energy bills are higher than normal. Leaky ducts can significantly decrease system capacity.
  • Size – Air conditioners can only achieve maximum efficiency if they are properly sized with load calculation tools. The preferred sizing protocols in the U.S. are the Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s Manuals J, S and D.

For more information about SEER efficiency ratings, please contact the experts at Overland Park Heating & Cooling. We are proud to serve residents of the greater Kansas City area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Overland Park, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

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