SEER Ratings Guide

If you’re shopping for a new air conditioning system, you perhaps have seen the term “SEER rating.” What exactly does this rating mean, and why is it important? Use this SEER rating guide to discover everything you need to know concerning AC efficiency ratings and the recent minimum SEER rating increase enacted by the federal government.

Defines a SEER Rating?

SEER stands 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 the equipment removes heat from the indoor air. The SEER rating is measured by dividing the cooling output of an air conditioner by the electric energy it needs throughout an entire season. Higher SEER ratings suggest a more energy-efficient air conditioning system.

What Is SEER2?

SEER2 is the recently updated SEER rating system that considers real-world consumption patterns and regional climate data. This new metric came into effect in January 2023 to give a more accurate depiction of an AC system’s energy efficiency.

Contrary to the last SEER rating system, which only factors in an air conditioner’s energy efficiency in lab environments, the SEER2 metric offers homeowners a more realistic picture of how an air conditioner will operate once setup in their home. As a result, you can assume SEER2 ratings to be a lower figure than SEER ratings, although they exhibit the same performance.

What Is the Federal Minimum SEER2 Rating in 2023?

The US Department of Energy (DOE) establishes minimum efficiency requirements 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 rating change in nearly a decade, when the mandated minimum ratings were established at 13 SEER in the north and 14 SEER in the south. The DOE demands any new AC systems marketed and installed in the United States to meet the new minimums. Even so, homeowners with lower efficiency air conditioners are not mandated to upgrade to the more efficient models.

How Do SEER Ratings Affect AC Prices?

Air conditioners with higher SEER ratings tend to cost more upon purchase than those with lower SEER ratings. This is because ACs with higher SEER ratings integrate more advanced technology and materials to attain higher performance. The good news is that while air conditioners with higher SEER ratings may demand a larger investment, they can save you money in the long run by lowering your energy bills.

For instance, picture yourself comparing two brands 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 costly up-front, it will probably save you 22% on your utility costs compared to System A. Based on the weather and electricity costs in your town, this could perhaps amount to hundreds of dollars in savings over the life of the system, making System B a more cost-effective solution 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 area, not when the current AC units are rated 26 SEER or higher. Look at the various 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 get the same cooling output, a top-quality unit can save you considerably on your cooling costs each summer for the life span of the system.
  • Environmental impact: Reduced energy consumption means fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Opting for an AC with a higher SEER rating decreases your home’s carbon impact and adds to a more environmentally safe future.
  • Improved comfort: Higher SEER-rated air conditioning systems are more sophisticated, with specifications such as two-stage compressors and multi-speed fan motors. Not only does this save energy and money, but it improves home comfort resulting in quieter, more dependable operation.
  • Top home value: New, high-efficiency ACs are more appealing to home buyers than outdated systems with lower ratings. When it’s time to move, having a high SEER-rated AC system can enhance the resale value and offer a compelling differentiator to potential buyers. This provides you yet another way to recover your original investment in a high-end air conditioner.

Install a New AC Unit Now

Now that you realize what SEER ratings to seek out, you might be ready to look for a replacement air conditioner. Turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for some of today’s best HVAC systems. You’ll conserve your energy bills for many years to come by installing an effective AC unit that matches or exceeds the federal minimum SEER2 rating. We’re so sure you’ll be delighted with our services that we offer you a 100% satisfaction guarantee! For more information or to arrange a free AC installation estimate, please contact a Service Experts office near you.

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