Accompanying nature’s outdoor furnace is the sound of millions of air conditioning units churning to keep the inside cool and comfortable. However, some of those humming AC units might be showing their wear. Some might be causing mild heat strokes when the electric bill shows up.
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is a metric that describes an air conditioning unit’s ability to cool the air versus how much energy it uses to accomplish that.
It’s important to note that this figure is calculated based over an entire cooling season, over a range of temperatures. Hence, the efficiency of a unit is not a hard and fast depiction of real-life conditions. Hotter climates like the South and Southwest obviously strain a unit’s efficiency with their longer, hotter seasons than do the milder climates.
Federal guidelines dictate that the minimum SEER rating be 13 or 14 depending on geographic location. Some units rank with a SEER rating as high as 25.
The general rule of thumb is that the higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the unit. However, as in most things, the highest rating comes with a higher price tag and not every home merits a cooling unit with a SEER much more than the minimum rating.
It’s likely that any air conditioning unit that is 12 years old or older has a SEER rating of closer to 8 or 10. Any upgrade to the minimum rating would certainly result in a cost savings in a home’s electric bill and would be a smart decision for any homeowner. At 12 years old, it’s generally accepted that an AC unit is past its midpoint in life.
The SEER rating alone doesn’t tell the whole story. Choosing which unit is best for your home falls to several factors such as house size and other existing infrastructure that need to be explored with a certified HVAC technician.
A little knowledge about SEER and the confidence of working with your trusted HVAC technician should guide you to making a purchase that will keep you cool for years to come. To receive two complimentary maintenance checks per year and 15% off on all parts and labor needed, ask us about our Residential Maintenance Agreement today. Our technicians are here to guide you in making decisions that will keep you cool and comfortable in the hot summer months.