So What Is a SEER Rating?
SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is a standard used to measure how much cooling AC equipment puts out for each unit of energy it consumes. It’s important to note that this metric measures the efficiency of the equipment only. Things such as installation, ducting, equipment matching, and load design all have a significant impact on the total system performance.
What it’s Supposed to Do for Us
When looking to purchase a new system, you might have seen “SEER Ratings” but not known quite what they are. They seem important, but what difference do they make for you? In theory, the higher the SEER rating, the more efficiently the air conditioner operates. The cooling output is measured in BTU’s or “British Thermal Units”, and the energy output is measured in watts. Ratings are on a spectrum ranging from 14 to as high as 38. In the state of Virginia, the minimum SEER Rating standard is 14. If you live in a northern climate you might check to see if you are in one of the areas that still uses 13 SEER as their minimum.
Should I Care About SEER Ratings?
So, should you care about SEER Ratings? Absolutely! While other aspects such as sizing, design, and ducting all have an impact on efficiency, SEER Ratings help you compare the specific pieces of equipment in and of themselves.
This can and will have a tremendous impact on your wallet. Think of it this way… if a higher SEER system cut your electric bill by only $30.00 dollars a month its not a big deal, right? Now, if you stay in that house for five years it would add up to $1,800.00 in savings! Ten years would be $3,600.00 and fifteen years (the average life of an HVAC system is 12-14) would be a whopping $5,400.00 in just your monthly savings!
Another point is that higher efficiency systems normally have added features such as variable speed airflow making you heat feel warmer and your cooling colder.
Typically, they have built in dehumidification controls to lower average indoor humidity and are controlled by “Command Centers” which can be accessed from your mobile device or programed to perform different levels of comfort throughout the day.
Some of these systems even tie into cameras, smoke detectors, CO monitors, sensors, door locks, and much more.
Investing in a higher SEER is starting to sound like a pretty good idea now doesn’t it?