What is a SEER Rating?


The whole purpose of an AC system is to cool you down; but in today’s cost conscious world, many people want to know that they are getting their money’s worth out of their system. In an effort to aid consumers purchasing decision on AC units, the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute defined a rating to measure the energy efficiency of an air conditioning unit. That rating is called SEER or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio.

  • What is SEER exactly? 
    • SEER is the ratio of a total cooling output during the length of a season to the total amount of energy consumed during that period. Think of it as miles to the gallon, SEER is cool/warm air to the unit of energy that is used.
    • This helps to determine the cost to produce the level of cooling power an individual wants, in other words, their operational cost.
    • Each region has minimum standards for a SEER rating. The Northern states must have at least a 13 SEER rating, while the Southern states in both the east and west must have at least a 14 SEER rating. Virginia requires a 14 SEER rating at minimum. 
  • How are SEER ratings determined?
    • Air conditioners are rated according to efficiency tests stipulated by the U.S. Department of Energy.
    • Actual efficiency may vary depending on outside factors including outside temperature, humidity, duct systems, and the length of time your unit runs.
  • Is a higher SEER worth the cost? 
    • Higher rated air conditioners typically pay for themselves through energy savings within a couple of years.
    • They can also help save the environment through reduced electricity use.
  • Does the SEER rating decrease over time?
    • Similar to many other machines, high energy efficient systems can become less efficient as time goes on. The best way to prolong the life of your system is to schedule regular maintenance. 

Energy is one of the most important considerations that you should make when comparing HVAC systems. Higher SEER ratings are more energy efficient and help to reduce your environmental footprint. For more information and advice concerning your HVAC system, contact A/C Masters at 757-898-2894.

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