Energy efficiency is a hot topic in today’s HVAC industry. People want to know that the appliances they are investing in are as gentle on the environment as they are on their wallets. High-efficiency systems can reduce your monthly utility bills, give you access to government rebate programs, and even increase the equity in your home. For this reason, there are labels and ratings to help consumers to determine exactly how energy efficient an appliance is. For air conditioners, the SEER rating system is used.
SEER is the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It is calculated by dividing the cooling output of an air conditioner or heat pump over a typical cooling season by the energy it uses in Watt-Hours. To be as accurate as possible in simulating a full cooling season, the cooling output is determined using a constant indoor temperature with a range of outdoor temperatures.
Minimum & Maximum Rating
Modern air conditioners range from 13 to 25 SEER based on individual state requirements. Higher numbers may seem impressive, but keep in mind that these are maximum efficiency ratings. This can be compared to your vehicle’s miles per gallon rating. You may get 28 miles per gallon on an open stretch of highway but getting stuck in rush hour traffic will seriously decrease its efficiency. As of right now, the minimum SEER allowed for new units in Arizona is 14, with the possibility of that number increasing to 15 in the near future.
If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner, it can be tempting to purchase the unit with the highest SEER rating possible. But higher ratings aren’t always worth the extra cost. To put this into perspective, older air conditioners are rated at around 8 or 9. Upgrading to an air conditioner with a 14 SEER rating is already a dramatic improvement in efficiency. Furthermore, the efficiency of your system depends on more than just your air conditioner. Other factors that impact energy use are the size of your home and your current ductwork. That’s why investing in an efficient system is more than just looking at the SEER number.
SEER ratings are a great tool for consumers to see the maximum efficiency of a particular air conditioner, but they shouldn’t be the sole deciding factor for an upgrade. Work with your chosen HVAC technician to assess your cooling needs, house size, ductwork, and any other special considerations to find the perfect AC unit for your home. For technicians in the Wickenburg and Surprise Area, contact our team at McMillin Air today!