SEER Ratings Guide

As you do research for your next air conditioner, you probably have seen the term “SEER rating.” What exactly does this rating mean, and why is it important? Use this SEER rating guide to learn everything you need to know regarding AC efficiency ratings and the recent minimum SEER rating increase passed by the federal government. 

What Is a SEER Rating? 

SEER is an acronym for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, which is a measure of how efficiently an air conditioner cools your home — or, to describe it another way, how successfully it removes heat from the indoor air. The SEER rating is determined by dividing the cooling output of an AC unit by the electricity it consumes over a whole season. Higher SEER ratings indicate a more energy-efficient air conditioning system. 

What Is SEER2? 

SEER2 is an updated SEER rating system that factors real-world usage patterns and area climate data. This new metric took effect in January 2023 to provide a better depiction of an AC system’s energy efficiency. 

Different from the last SEER rating system, which only takes into account an air conditioner’s energy efficiency in lab environments, the SEER2 metric provides homeowners a more authentic picture of how a cooling system will perform once added in their home. For this reason, you can anticipate SEER2 ratings to be a lower number than SEER ratings, even though they exhibit the same performance.  

What Is the Federal Minimum SEER2 Rating in 2023? 

The US Department of Energy (DOE) determines minimum efficiency standards for air conditioning systems. In 2023, the minimum SEER ratings for central air conditioners increased 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 minimum efficiency rating increase since 2015, when the required minimum ratings were required to be 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. That said, homeowners with less efficient air conditioners are not required to replace them. 

How Do SEER Ratings Affect AC Expenditures? 

Air conditioners with higher SEER ratings are likely to cost more up-front than units with lower SEER ratings. This happens because ACs with greater SEER ratings incorporate more sophisticated technology and materials to obtain higher performance. While air conditioners with higher SEER ratings may involve a larger investment, they’ll save you money ultimately by lowering your utility bills. 

For instance, imagine comparing a pair 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 is more expensive up-front, it can save you 22% on your cooling costs when put next to System A. Depending on the weather and electricity costs in your area, this could amount to hundreds of dollars in financial savings over the years ahead, making System B a more economical option in the long run. 

Why Choose 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 modern cooling systems are rated 26 SEER or higher. Look at the many benefits of purchasing such a high-end system: 

  • Energy savings: As described previously, ACs with higher SEER ratings are a great deal more energy efficient. By utilizing less energy to achieve the identical cooling output, a top-quality unit can help you save significantly on your cooling costs every summer for the life span of the system. 
  • Environmental impact: Decreased energy consumption means fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Picking out an AC with a higher SEER rating cuts down your home’s carbon footprint and leads to a more sustainable future. 
  • Enhanced comfort: Higher SEER-rated air conditioning systems are more advanced, with functions such as two-stage compressors and multi-speed fan motors. Not only does this avoid wasting energy and money, but it increases home comfort and results in quieter, more dependable operation.  
  • Top home value: New, high-efficiency ACs are more appealing to prospective home buyers at resale time than aged systems with lower ratings. If you decide to move, having a high SEER-rated AC system can improve the resale value and give your property an advantage to potential buyers. This provides you yet another way to get back your initial investment in a high-end air conditioner. 

Install a New AC Unit Now 

Now that you know what SEER ratings to look for, you might be ready to look for a replacement air conditioner. Turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for access to some of today’s best HVAC systems. You can reduce your utility bills for years to come by installing an effective AC unit that conform to or exceeds the federal minimum SEER2 rating. We’re so certain you’ll be thrilled with our services that we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee! To find out more or to plan a free AC installation estimate, please call a Service Experts office near you

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