SEER Ratings Guide

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

Defines a SEER Rating?

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, which is a measurement of how well an air conditioner cools your home — or, more accurately, how well the equipment removes heat from the indoor air. The SEER rating is determined by dividing the cooling output of an air conditioner by the electric energy it needs over a whole season. Higher SEER ratings indicate a more energy-efficient air conditioning system.

What Is SEER2?

SEER2 is the recently updated SEER rating system that considers real-world usage patterns and area climate data. This new metric commenced in January 2023 to offer a more precise depiction of an AC system’s energy efficiency.

Contrary to the previous SEER rating system, which only considers an air conditioner’s energy efficiency in controlled environments, the SEER2 metric offers homeowners a more realistic picture of how an AC unit will operate once installed in their home. So, you can assume SEER2 ratings to be a lower figure than SEER ratings, although they represent the same performance.

What Is the Federal Minimum SEER2 Rating in 2023?

The US Department of Energy (DOE) sets minimum efficiency specifications for HVAC 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 efficiency rating change since 2015, when the necessary minimum ratings were set to 13 SEER in the north and 14 SEER in the south. The DOE demands any new AC systems sold and installed in the U.S. to reach the new minimums. However, homeowners with less efficient air conditioners are not mandated to upgrade to the more efficient models.

How Do SEER Ratings Impact AC Prices?

Cooling systems with higher SEER ratings have a tendency to cost more up-front than those with lower SEER ratings. This is because ACs with higher SEER ratings incorporate more sophisticated technology and materials to obtain higher performance. While air conditioners with higher SEER ratings may require a larger investment, they often save you money eventually by lowering your energy bills.

For instance, let’s say you’re comparing a couple of central air conditioners. System A has a SEER rating of 14 and costs $3,000, and 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 cooling costs in comparison to System A. Depending on the environment and electricity costs in your area, this could perhaps equate to hundreds of dollars in financial savings over the next few years, making System B a more affordable solution in the long run.

Why Buy an AC with a Higher SEER Rating? 

You don’t have to settle for the minimum SEER rating in your state, not when modern cooling systems are rated 26 SEER or higher. Consider the numerous benefits of investing in such a high-end system:

  • Energy savings: As described previously, ACs with higher SEER ratings are more energy efficient. By utilizing less energy to get the equivalent cooling output, a premium unit can save you significantly on your cooling expenses every summer for the life span of the system.
  • Environmental impact: Decreased energy consumption ensures fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Selecting an AC with a higher SEER rating cuts down your home’s carbon footprint and adds to a more sustainable future.
  • Improved comfort: Higher SEER-rated cooling systems are more advanced, with features such as two-stage compressors and multi-speed fan motors. Not only does this avoid wasting energy and money, but it enhances home comfort which leads to a quieter, more dependable operation.
  • Increased home value: New, high-efficiency ACs are more desirable to home buyers than aged 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 provides you yet another way to recoup your initial investment in a high-end air conditioner.

Install a New AC Unit Soon

Now that you realize what SEER ratings to look for, 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. We can help you save on your utility bills for years into the future by installing an effective AC unit that meets or exceeds the federal minimum SEER2 rating. We’re so certain you’ll be pleased with our services that we provide a 100% satisfaction guarantee! For more information or to arrange a free AC installation estimate, please contact a Service Experts office near you.

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