SEER Ratings Guide

If you’re shopping for a new air conditioning system, you probably have come across the term “SEER rating.” What exactly does this rating mean, and why is it important? Use this SEER rating guide to learn everything you should know regarding AC efficiency ratings and the latest minimum SEER rating increase mandated by the federal government. 

Defines a SEER Rating? 

SEER is an acronym for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, which is a measure of how easily an air conditioner cools your home — or, more accurately, how successfully the AC unit removes heat from the indoor air. The SEER rating is calculated by dividing the cooling output of an AC unit by the electric energy it uses across a full season. Higher SEER ratings signify a more energy-efficient air conditioning system. 

What Is SEER2? 

SEER2 is an updated SEER rating system that factors real-world consumption 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. 

Contrary to the previous SEER rating system, which only takes into account an air conditioner’s energy efficiency in laboratory environments, the SEER2 metric delivers homeowners a more accurate picture of how an AC unit will perform once setup in their home. Therefore, you can anticipate SEER2 ratings to be a lower figure than SEER ratings, although they represent the same performance.  

What Is the Federal Minimum SEER2 Rating in 2023? 

The US Department of Energy (DOE) determines minimum efficiency standards for cooling systems. In 2023, the minimum SEER ratings for central air conditioners improved 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 established at 13 SEER in the north and 14 SEER in the south. The DOE requires any new AC systems sold and installed in the U.S. to meet the new minimums. However, homeowners with less efficient air conditioners are not required to replace them. 

How Do SEER Ratings Affect AC Costs? 

Cooling systems with higher SEER ratings tend to cost more initially than units with lower SEER ratings. This happens because ACs with greater SEER ratings utilize more advanced technology and materials to achieve higher performance. While air conditioners with higher SEER ratings may require a larger investment, they often save you money in the long run by lowering your utility bills. 

For instance, let’s say you’re comparing a couple 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 costs more up-front, it could possibly save you 22% on your cooling costs when put next to System A. Contingent on the weather and electricity costs in your area, this could perhaps equate to hundreds of dollars in financial savings over the life of the system, making System B a more cost-effective choice in the long run. 

Why Buy 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 the current AC units are rated 26 SEER or higher. Think about the numerous benefits of spending your money on such a high-end system: 

  • Energy savings: As previously mentioned, ACs with higher SEER ratings are considerably more energy efficient. By utilizing less energy to accomplish the identical cooling output, a superior unit can save you considerably on your cooling costs each summer for the life span of the system. 
  • Environmental impact: Reduced energy consumption translates to fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Picking out an AC with a higher SEER rating reduces your home’s carbon footprint and adds to a more environmentally safe future. 
  • Better comfort: Higher SEER-rated air conditioning systems are more sophisticated, with specifications such as two-stage compressors and multi-speed fan motors. Not merely does this conserve energy and money, but it increases home comfort resulting in quieter, more dependable operation.  
  • Top home value: New, high-efficiency ACs are more appealing to home buyers than aged systems with lower ratings. If you decide to move, having a high SEER-rated AC system can improve the resale value and offer a compelling differentiator to potential buyers. This offers you yet another way to get back your original investment in a high-end air conditioner. 

Install a New AC Unit Today 

Now that you realize what SEER ratings to consider, it’s time to go shopping for a replacement air conditioner. Turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for access to some of today’s best HVAC systems. We can help you save on your energy bills for many years to come by installing an efficient AC unit that conform to or exceeds the federal minimum SEER2 rating. We’re so certain you’ll be satisfied with our services that we offer you a 100% satisfaction guarantee! To learn more or to plan a free AC installation estimate, please call a Service Experts office near you

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