What Does Your AC SEER Rating Mean?

Understand the significance of SEER rating of AC. With Sandium, get expert air conditioning service and HVAC service linked to SEER ratings and energy efficiency today!

Updated on Oct 22, 2023
5 min read
What Does Your AC SEER Rating Mean?

HVAC units when running optimally will consume less energy and make your Northern California house more comfortable. Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating determines an air conditioner’s efficiency. Generally, higher SEER rating means the unit is more efficient. You should know that every state has a minimum rating standard. This is usually 13 or 14. You can make an informed purchasing decision by understanding what SEER ratings mean and how they affect cooling.

What is SEER Rating?

SEER is the ratio of an air conditioner’s cooling output in a typical warm season over the energy used in Watt-Hours. The SEER ratio takes into account an entire cooling season by using a variety of outdoor temperatures that range between 60 degrees to 100 plus and a near constant indoor temperature.

You should remember that SEER ratio refers to a maximum efficiency rating. It depends on a lot of factors and you may get lower efficiency depending on your home’s unique conditions.

Impact of SEER Ratings on an Air Conditioner

The SEER rating indicates an air conditioner’s maximum potential. This means that the rating of a unit can be as high as 21, but it won't always perform at that level. This is because the rating is limited by the laws of thermodynamics. Sun exposure, thermostat settings, outdoor temperature, building envelope, and mechanical problems affect the efficiency and performance of an air conditioner.

HVAC units with higher SEER ratings are said to be more energy efficient. However, they are also variable in nature, which means that a higher SEER unit may not always save money in the long run. It is best to discuss with an HVAC specialist your unique needs, size of the house and budget constraints while purchasing an air conditioner.

An experienced HVAC specialist will use special equations to average the maximum EER (Energy Efficiency Raito) over expected seasonal temperatures. Generally, air conditioners with a SEER rating between 14 and 16 are considered good for home use. You should also consider manufacturers’ rebates and tax credits.

Benefits of Higher SEER Rating

These are a few benefits of a higher SEER rating:

Energy efficiency

Higher the SEER rating, more efficient is your HVAC system in certain conditions. Most modern HVAC systems have a SEER rating ranging between 13 and 21. The efficiency of the unit you choose will depend on the state of current ducting in your home, size of your home, and other similar variables. You should follow energy saving practices even if you purchase an air conditioner with a high SEER rating.

Greater comfort

You will be more comfortable in the hotter months if you get an air conditioning system with higher SEER rating. There are two components in units with high SEER rating that add to greater indoor comfort – variable or 2-stage speed compressor and variable speed blower.

Lower SEER units usually run on one speed and are single-stage. They will turn on and off frequently during mild weather. You will experience hot/cold spots and uneven cooling. The indoors will also be more humid adding to the overall heat factor. An air conditioner needs to run for a long time to remove humidity from the house. Single-stage systems don’t allow for this. 

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Take the first step towards comfortable, energy-efficient, and stress-free living by scheduling a consultation with Sandium.