SEER Ratings Guide

As you do research for your next air conditioner, you may have seen the term “SEER rating.” Ever wonder what a SEER rating is and why it matters? Use this SEER rating guide to educate yourself on everything you ought to know concerning AC efficiency ratings and the recent minimum SEER rating increase passed by the federal government.

What Is a SEER Rating?

SEER is short for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, which is a measure of how easily an air conditioner cools your home — or, to describe it another way, how effectively it removes heat from the indoor air. The SEER rating is determined by dividing the cooling output of an AC unit by the electric energy it needs across a full season. Higher SEER ratings signify a more energy-efficient air conditioning system.

What Is SEER2?

SEER2 is an updated SEER rating system that considers real-world consumption patterns and area climate data. This new metric came into effect in January 2023 to offer a better depiction of an AC system’s energy efficiency.

Unlike the previous SEER rating system, which only factors in an air conditioner’s energy efficiency in laboratory conditions, the SEER2 metric delivers homeowners a more accurate picture of how a cooling system will operate once added in their home. Therefore, you can anticipate SEER2 ratings to be a lower number than SEER ratings, although they exhibit the same performance.

What Is the Federal Minimum SEER2 Rating in 2023?

The US Department of Energy (DOE) sets minimum efficiency requirements for cooling systems. In 2023, the minimum SEER ratings for central air conditioners rose 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 rating change in nearly a decade, when the necessary minimum ratings were established at 13 SEER in the north and 14 SEER in the south. The DOE requires any new AC systems sold and installed in America to meet the new minimums. However, homeowners with lower efficiency air conditioners do not need to trade them in.

How Do SEER Ratings Influence AC Expenditures?

Air conditioning systems with higher SEER ratings have a tendency to cost more upon purchase than units with lower SEER ratings. It is because ACs with greater SEER ratings utilize more sophisticated technology and materials to attain higher performance. The good news is that while air conditioners with higher SEER ratings may require a larger investment, they should save you money eventually by lowering your utility bills.

Case in point, imagine comparing two central air conditioners. System A has a SEER rating of 14 and costs $3,000, while System B has a SEER rating of 18 and costs $4,000. While System B costs more up-front, it can save you 22% on your energy costs compared to System A. Based on the weather and electricity costs in your town, this could perhaps add up to hundreds of dollars in savings over the years ahead, making System B a more affordable option long term.

Why Pick an AC with a Higher SEER Rating? 

You have more options than to just settle for the minimum SEER rating in your state, not when the current AC units are rated 26 SEER or higher. Consider the numerous benefits of spending your money on such a high-end system:

  • Energy savings: As described previously, ACs with higher SEER ratings are considerably more energy efficient. By consuming less energy to get the same cooling output, a top-quality unit can save you substantially on your cooling costs every single summer for the life expectancy of the system.
  • Environmental impact: Reduced energy consumption means fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Opting for an AC with a higher SEER rating decreases your home’s carbon footprint and leads to a more environmentally safe future.
  • Enhanced comfort: Higher SEER-rated air conditioning systems are more advanced, with specifications such as two-stage compressors and multi-speed fan motors. Not merely does this avoid wasting energy and money, but it boosts home comfort which leads to a quieter, more dependable operation.
  • Top home value: New, high-efficiency ACs are more enticing to buyers when you decide to sell your home than outdated systems with lower ratings. If you decide to move, having a high SEER-rated AC system can improve the resale value and make your home more attractive to potential buyers. This gives you yet another way to get back your original investment in a high-end air conditioner.

Install a New AC Unit Today

Now that you understand what SEER ratings to consider, you may be ready to shop for a replacement air conditioner. Turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for some of today’s best HVAC systems. You can reduce your electricity or fuel bills for many years to come by installing a reliable AC unit that meets or exceeds the federal minimum SEER2 rating. We’re so confident you’ll be delighted with our services that we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee! To learn more or to arrange a free AC installation estimate, please call a Service Experts office near you.

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