What You Should Know about SEER Ratings with Shopping for an Air Conditioner

If you’re shopping for a new air conditioner, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration. But one factor you’ll want to pay special attention to is the SEER rating. The SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating is a metric that measures how much cooling a system puts out for each unit of energy it consumes. The more energy efficient an air conditioner is, the higher SEER rating it will earn. The SEER rating is similar to how miles per gallon is used to measure fuel efficiency for cars.

There are a variety of SEER ratings available. Units with the minimum or near-minimum SEER will be less expensive but will result in higher energy costs. Units with higher SEER ratings cost more because they use larger coils and can feature very high efficient motors and compressors, however that cost may be justified by the energy savings if it is used over an extended period of years.  Your home’s geographic location may also factor into the SEER rating you decide to buy. Areas with mild summers may not justify the extra cost of a unit with a higher SEER rating. Areas like Kansas City that experience hot, humid summers that can start in the spring and last well into the fall, choosing a unit with a higher SEER rating makes more sense and can actually be a great investment

A 13 SEER system is currently the government minimum standard for systems manufactured today. However, many homeowners may have older air conditioning systems that may only have a SEER rating of 8 0r less. Going back to the analogy of fuel efficiency in cars, just as with cars that lose fuel efficiency over time, the energy efficiency of air conditioners also degrades significantly over time. What this means is an older unit with a SEER rating of 9 will consume about 35% more power (measured in wattage) than a unit that has a 13 SEER rating. In this case, an upgrade  to a 13 SEER unit could result in a $300 annual savings. Upgrading to an even higher SEER will provide even greater energy savings.

Installation and maintenance can affect the SEER rating your new unit delivers, so be sure to select a qualified professional contractor, such as Overland Park Heating and Cooling.