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What is S.E.E.R – Understanding Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio

Published by Melanie Riggs

Air Conditioning Service Virginia Beach, VA

Buying a new air conditioner requires knowledge and insight to get the best option for your money. If you are unsure which make, model, and size of air conditioner you need, making a decision is not easy. You want to cool your home efficiently, but you must also stay within your budget. Talking with professionals about the right air conditioning services for your needs can help. You can choose the best unit and also enjoy peace of mind.

When looking for an HVAC system that meets your needs, consider an air conditioning system that offers quiet performance coupled with value and comfort. Especially if you work from home or spend a lot of your time there, a quiet, efficient system can be a good choice. You may also be looking for a unit with a higher SEER rating to help with energy savings. It is important to understand the difference in AC units, their ratings, their cooling output, and how much power they use during operation.

To find the right unit for your needs throughout the cooling season, schedule a consultation with Mechanical Service Company. By working with MSCO, you can get expert help to determine what air conditioner will meet your needs for efficiency and budget. Dedicated professionals can give you all the information you need to choose the heat pump or air conditioner that will cool your home and protect your power bill.

What Are SEER and AC Efficiency?

The efficiency of your HVAC system matters, but it does not affect your cooling. The belief that you will receive less cool air when you have a lower-efficiency AC system is a misconception. Instead, efficiency is a measure of cooling costs and not the amount or temperature of the air pumped through the ductwork into your home. The right SEER system means reaching maximum efficiency for your unit and your cooling needs. It does not affect the setting on your thermostat or the volume of air the unit produces.

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, which rates the efficiency of an air conditioner. Higher SEER units are more efficient than counterparts with lower SEER ratings. With a more efficient AC system, you can expect lower energy bills. Central air conditioners, mini-split options, and split systems all have SEER ratings. Rebates may be available when upgrading your old air conditioner to a new system with a high SEER rating.

What Does SEER Mean When Buying an AC Unit?

There are different types of SEER, with higher numbers being better choices for efficient cooling. The ratio used is the cooling output of the air conditioner over the cooling season, divided by the energy in watt-hours the unit uses. To determine this ratio, air conditioner manufacturers use a simulated cooling season, with variable outside temperatures between 60 and 200 degrees.

The minimum SEER for an air conditioning system is 13, and companies no longer produce units with this SEER today. Older common standards through the U.S. Department of Energy were 14 and 16 SEER, which are also outdated now. Today’s most energy-efficient air conditioning units have a minimum SEER rating of 18 or 20. These units use less energy to cool your home, thus lowering your energy costs.

One of the reasons an 18 or 20 SEER cooling system is so efficient is that it has a modulating compressor. This compressor is superior to any single-stage or two-stage compressors available today. Variable speed systems also increase value because they allow the unit to self-adjust as needed to keep efficiency at a maximum.

What is the Difference Between 18 and 20 SEER?

An 18 SEER HVAC unit can offer annual savings on your power bill of up to 28%. That is significant when you want a mid-efficiency, quality cooling system with substantial cost savings. With a 20 SEER unit, you are choosing a high-efficiency air conditioner that offers you up to 35% savings on your power bill per year. As you consider which SEER rating you want for your home or business, look into the potential yearly savings versus the start-up costs.

Not everyone needs the highest possible SEER when upgrading their HVAC system. If you have a small home in a northern climate, you can typically feel comfortable and have reasonable power bills with a lower SEER rating. A larger home in a southern climate can benefit from a higher SEER unit because your air conditioning unit will work harder for a more extended period of time. More energy efficiency can make a significant difference in your power bills.

Are High SEER AC Units Worth It?

The higher the SEER of the unit, the more expensive it will be to purchase. However, the trade-off for expensive, up-front equipment costs is the lower cost of utility bills for the life of the unit. For many people, that higher up-front cost is worth it in the savings they see over time. Only you can decide if a higher SEER cooling system is the right choice for your needs. Armed with knowledge and information from the professionals at MSCO, you can choose the best system for your needs.

What Are the Benefits of a 20 SEER? 

A 20 SEER unit uses a variable speed compressor or modulating compressor, which has numerous advantages over a single or two-stage compressor. Older compressors would operate at a constant speed, meaning their efficiency would vary with their inability to self-adjust. Newer compressors that are variable do not have that same issue and provide more than one speed during their operation. The Trane xv20, for example, has 750 stages and runs between 25% and 100% of its capacity, as needed. It will adjust itself on demand and is an excellent option for both efficiency and noise decibel volume.

Keep Cost in Mind When Purchasing an AC Unit

Cost is important when choosing a new AC system. The up-front cost of a more efficient unit can be higher, but the high efficiency translates to lower power bills. By choosing a unit with a high SEER rating, you can select a quiet, high-quality AC unit that will provide you with value, comfort, and lower energy bills for years to come.

You can request a free quote by calling the home comfort professionals of Mechanical Service Company at (757) 427-0016 or reaching out to us through our online contact form. We will be in touch immediately to help you choose a new unit with an energy efficiency rating that is right for the size of your home or business and meets your needs.

Find Out What Our Clients Say About Us

Read Our Trusted Reviews

Technician Rick did an outstanding job of completing my annual service check, correcting minor problems and cleaning my system prior to the summer season. What impressed me most is that he took the time to point out other issues in my attic (loose fitting at the hot water heater) and even outside (water spigot leaking) and fixed both on his own since they were easy fixes. What a great service professional and so rare to find someone honest and willing to take a few extra moments to help out. Thanks for a great experience!

- Mark B.

Technician Rick did an outstanding job of completing my annual service check, correcting minor problems and cleaning my system prior to the summer season. What impressed me most is that he took the time to point out other issues in my attic (loose fitting at the hot water heater) and even outside (water spigot leaking) and fixed both on his own since they were easy.

- Mark B.

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