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What is a SEER Rating and How Does It Affect My Home’s AC System?

When you’re looking to invest in a new air conditioning system, one of the very first things that you’ll likely be concerned about is its energy efficiency. Energy costs always seem to be going up. You want to ensure that you pick a system that is affordable to run, which is why understanding the SEER rating scale is vital.

What is a SEER Rating?

SEER stands for season energy efficiency ratio. Each air conditioner that is sold will have this SEER rating, which will help you as a buyer to determine how energy efficient the system is. SEER is determined by taking the unit’s total cooling output for a whole season and dividing it by the system’s total energy usage in that same season.

It’s easiest to think about this rating as miles per gallon in a car. A car that gets more miles per gallon than others is considered more efficient and less expensive to run. The same holds true for a higher SEER rating air conditioner. These ratings run from a minimum of 13 to a maximum of 25 for centralized air conditioning systems. Mini-split ductless units have even higher efficiency ratings.

It’s crucial to note that the minimum standard for all air conditioners set by the federal government is 13 SEER. Energy Star air conditioners have a SEER rating of 14.5 or higher. Most typical units will have a SEER of around 16. If you’re looking for a high-efficiency system, then you’re going to want to get a SEER of 19 or more.

SEER is Considered a Maximum Operating Efficiency

It’s important to realize that a system’s SEER rating specifies its maximum operating efficiency. It’s highly unlikely that your system will always operate at its SEER rating. Think of your air conditioner like your car. If you’re operating in the city, your car is going to get much less gas mileage than when you’re operating on the highway. If your air conditioner’s filter is dirty, it’s not going to operate at maximal efficiency and so forth.

What SEER Rating is Best For Your Home?

The simple answer is that it really depends. While purchasing a system with the highest SEER rating will ensure maximal efficiency, it can be very expensive for the average homeowner. Determining what SEER rating is ideal for your home depends on a number of factors. These include things like the amount of insulation you have in your home, how much you pay per kilowatt of energy, the size of your home, and so forth.

It’s typically best to approach investing in a new air conditioning system by being mindful of the performance of your old system. Most older air conditioning systems will have a SEER rating of 8 or 9. Just switching to the minimum of 13 or 14 for a modern-day air conditioner can drastically lower your energy bills. Take a few moments and assess your old air conditioning unit to determine its SEER rating so that you have a basis to start making decisions.

Benefits of Higher SEER Units

Investing in a higher SEER air conditioning unit comes along with many great benefits. The most obvious is that it will run on less energy, which means lower power bills for your home throughout the summer months. This can turn into a lot of cash savings if you’re switching from a lower SEER unit system to a much higher SEER unit system.

When you purchase a new air conditioning system that has a high SEER rating, you can cash in on some great tax rebates and incentives. Federal, state, and some local governments are offering these tax advantages to homeowners who are investing in more efficient systems to reduce their carbon footprint.

Another great benefit of high SEER units is that they come with modulating speeds. Most standard SEER units come with a one-speed operation. This doesn’t help to control humidity overly well, can be quite noisy, and can’t offer the specific level of comfort that higher SEER rating systems can.

Reliable AC Services

Dugan Air Heating Cooling offers reliable AC services for the whole Franklin, IN, region. We’re also available for all of your heating, thermostat, new construction, and air quality needs. Give us a call today to set up your next service appointment with our experienced technicians.



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