HVAC systems are some of the most crucial features of our homes. Without the temperature control provided by air conditioners and heat pumps, outdoor temperatures would be the dominant factor in determining interior comfort. However, when considering a new system, efficiency is an essential factor.
Experts rate HVAC efficiency using a Season Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER rating. However, many homeowners ask, what is a good SEER rating for an air conditioner?
Experts consider various factors to understand how SEER ratings impact air conditioning systems. Understanding these factors can help you choose a better system for your house.
If you’re experiencing HVAC issues, call the top-rated air conditioning repair in El Cajon. Our experienced technicians at Maximum Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning can address issues with systems at all SEER ratings. Call (619) 403-2823 today for more information.
What Is a SEER Rating?
A Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio provides insight into an HVAC system’s cooling and heating efficiency at different points throughout the year. SEER ratings are the most popular metric that both consumers and producers of HVAC units utilize to contextualize the quality of a central air conditioner. Generally speaking, the higher the SEER, the better equipped a unit will be to achieve your desired indoor temperature.
While this may seem like a cut-and-dry way of answering the question, “What is a good seer rating for an air conditioner,” other factors impact what rating you should look for in new systems. Nevertheless, a higher SEER indeed equates to a more energy-efficient design.
Professionals create SEER ratings for different systems by calculating the unit’s cooling output ratio for a season divided by its total energy input. Essentially, they’re evaluating how hard an AC unit must work to maintain consistent indoor temperatures during fluctuating outdoor temperatures. This process yields a rating that accounts for seasonal temperature shifts.
Difference Between SEER and EER Ratings
Some homeowners wondering about the SEER rating of new systems ask about the difference between this metric and an EER. An EER rating, or an energy efficiency rating, measures the energy efficiency of an HVAC unit over a period with a constant outdoor temperature. Thus, the main difference is that EER ratings don’t account for seasonal temperature changes.
Because of the exclusion of seasonal temperature shifts, SEER ratings are better metrics for answering the question, “What is a good seer rating for an air conditioner?”
Factors Impacting a Unit’s SEER Rating
Although the SEER rating offers the most accurate glimpse into an AC unit’s efficiency, this rating is its maximal efficiency. Like other machines, many factors can impact an HVAC system’s efficiency at any moment. However, these factors usually aren’t permanent and can improve with professional maintenance or minor adjustments.
Some factors impacting the day-to-day efficiency include:
- Amount of sunlight exposure in your home
- Cleanliness of air filters
- Breakdowns in your system
- Mechanical or maintenance issues
- Thermostat settings and seasonal adjustments
- Outdoor temperatures
What Is a Good SEER Rating for an Air Conditioner?
Considering the factors that impact SEER ratings, how do you evaluate the quality of a unit’s rating? In 2005, the Energy Policy Act required all HVAC units in the country to have a SEER rating of at least 13. However, homes built before 2005 may have HVAC units installed with a SEER rating as low as 10.
The best range for HVAC units is 14 to 16, although units can also have SEER ratings as high as 18 to 20. Choosing the unit rating right for your home depends on price, seasonal temperatures, and long-term savings considerations.
Advantages of Higher SEER Air Conditioners
While units with a higher SEER rating will cost more upfront, various benefits make these HVAC systems worthwhile investments. Read below about the financial and functional benefits that higher SEER-rated air conditions can provide.
Improved Temperature and Humidity Control
HVAC systems with higher efficiency will reach your desired indoor temperature faster. Furthermore, these systems can sustain a consistent temperature better despite factors that could decrease efficiency.
Air conditioners also play a crucial role in indoor humidity. Higher SEER ratings translate to systems better equipped to remove excess moisture from your home’s air.
Increased Indoor Comfort
Decreasing humidity and increasing temperature consistency in your home should contribute to greater levels of comfort. This benefit can be particularly crucial during seasonal extremes in the summer and winter when indoor temperature control is most important. Opt for an HVAC unit with a higher SEER rating to reap the comfort benefits of more efficient systems.
Fewer Unit Breakdowns
While efficiency can equate to positive outcomes, lower efficiency can create adversities for your HVAC unit. Lower SEER-rated air conditioners cannot achieve your desired indoor temperature without working harder.
As your system progressively increases its load to compensate for lower efficiency, it can lead to frequent breakdowns and a need to hire professionals for more routine maintenance. Choosing a higher SEER rating system can save you money on repairs and maintenance costs.
Compounding Energy Savings
HVAC efficiency is a significant factor in determining your monthly utility expense. Systems with lower efficiency may cost more to run each month than higher-efficiency systems.
The difference between a 13 SEER rating 18 SEER rating system can be as high as $50 a year. Over the lifespan of an HVAC unit, this can result in long-term savings for more efficient systems.
Should I Buy a More Expensive Unit with a Higher SEER Rating?
While buying a more expensive unit may seem unnecessary, high SEER-rated units, which usually cost more, may provide long-term savings. Consider the earlier example of $50 a year savings differences. Over the 10-year life of your system, these savings will overrule the upfront costs of investing in a more efficient system.
Hire Professional HVAC Services from Maximum Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning
For more answers to the question “What is a good SEER rating for an air conditioner” or to schedule AC maintenance from experienced professionals in El Cajon, call Maximum Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning at (619) 403-2823 today!