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SEER Ratings Explained

HVAC Comfort Team

  • What is a SEER rating?
    • SEER stands for “seasonal energy efficiency ratio,” which is defined by the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute. The SEER rating of a unit is the cooling output during a typical cooling season divided by the total electric energy input during the same period.
  • How is SEER rating calculated?
    • A SEER rating is calculated by dividing the total number of BTUs (British thermal units) of heat removed from the air by the total amount of energy required by the air conditioner in watt-hours. On most units, there is a yellow energy guide sticker that displays the SEER rating.
  • What levels of SEER rating are there?
    • As of 2023, SEER ratings must begin at 14 and go as high as 25. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy efficient the system is. For example, a system with a SEER rating of 18 will be more energy efficient than a system with a SEER rating of 14.
  • What SEER rating should I buy for my house? What rating for what size house?
    • The SEER rating does not depend on the size of your house – it depends on the climate you live in and how efficient you are want your unit to be.
      • If you live in the Midwest or northern parts of the United States, you really only need a 14-16 SEER unit as we would only need to run the AC units about 10 to 12 weeks out of the year.
      • If you live in the southern or western parts of the United States, you would be looking at a higher SEER rating of 21-25, since homeowners in those areas are running their air conditioning units about 9 months out of the year.
    • SEER ratings are important to consider when choosing an air conditioning or heat pump system, as more efficient systems may be more expensive, but they use less electricity and can save homeowners money on monthly energy bills. In addition, some states and utilities may even offer incentives for homeowners to install systems with high SEER ratings, as these systems can help to reduce overall energy consumption and reduce strain on the power grid.

It is worth noting that SEER ratings are based on laboratory testing and do not always reflect real-world performance. Factors such as the size of the system, the age of the system, and the climate in which the system is used can all affect its actual energy efficiency. However, SEER ratings can still provide a useful comparison between different systems and can help homeowners make informed decisions about which system is best for their needs. Now that you know more about how SEER ratings work and what you’ll need for your home, contact our experts today!