If you have been shopping for an air conditioner in Sacramento, California, you have likely seen the SEER ratings on different units. This post will examine what the SEER rating means and how it should impact your purchase.
Demystifying the SEER Rating
The SEER rating is essential to consider when purchasing a new AC unit. It allows you to compare one system to another and see which unit will be more efficient.
Unfortunately, the numbers can seem confusing. First, it is good to know what a SEER rating is. Next, you should know how these numbers can help you get the biggest bang for your air conditioner purchase.
Buying an air conditioner is a significant financial investment. Finding out all you can about the AC unit before you hand over your hard-earned money is a smart thing to do. The seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) tells you how much energy the air conditioning unit will use during one year.
The DOE (United States Department of Energy) has stated that new air conditioners must meet minimum efficiency standards identified by SEER ratings. As you shop for your unit, you will see that most units well exceed the minimum requirements laid out by the DOE. If you replace a unit you purchased 15 or 20 years ago, you may be surprised at just how energy-efficient and advanced new air conditioning units are. Let’s take a closer look at SEER definition ratings to help you understand why they are important, what the numbers mean, and how that information can help you choose the right air conditioning unit.
How Are SEER Ratings Calculated?
The more a SEER number increases, the more efficient the unit is. This means that your monthly utility bill will be lower. In practical terms, the amount you save on your utility bill will vary based on the size and design of your home, how much you pay per kilowatt-hour in your area of Sacramento for electricity, the unit’s SEER rating, and the amount of money you are spending right now to cool your home.
Air conditioners for sale today have a SEER rating of between 13 and 25. The rating is identified by calculating the unit’s average performance, which is the amount of cooling the air conditioning unit puts out for every unit of energy it uses to create the cool air. The less energy the unit uses, the higher the SEER rating.
SEER ratings let you estimate the annual cooling cost for your home. First, you need to determine the amount of heat removed from your home during the cooling season. This number is represented in BTUs (British thermal units).
Next, divide the electrical energy the air conditioner uses during the cooling season. This is represented by watt-hours (Wh). Therefore, SEER = BTU/Wh.
The indoor and outdoor temperatures are also used to calculate SEER. The outdoor temperature can fluctuate during the cooling season based on weather and climate. SEER ratings are designed to compensate for this by mimicking your region’s typical cooling season.
It is based on a range of probable outdoor temperatures, which would be 65 degrees Fahrenheit to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. These temperatures are broken down into eight “bins” in 5-degree increments. The average temperature of each bin is assigned a fraction of the whole of the annual cooling hours.
The indoor temperature is set at 80 degrees and 50% humidity. This number is based on the return air instead of the supply air. This is an elementary explanation of the calculations. The AHRI (Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute) has in-depth information on the calculations and standards used when factoring indoor and outdoor temperature and SEER ratings on its website.
Where Can I Find an Air Conditioner’s SEER Rating?
If you are looking for a new unit but are unsure of where to find the SEER rating, there are a couple of options for finding it. First, look at the AC’s condenser unit. New ACs have a huge yellow sticker on the side that clearly says their SEER rating and includes other specifications.
If your current air conditioner doesn’t have the yellow sticker or if the sticker is worn down so you can’t read it, you can find it on your air handler. The air handler is somewhere in your home, likely in your garage or attic. You will see information about your unit, including the SEER rating.
If this doesn’t work, find the model number and the serial number of your AC. This information is on the condenser and the air handler. Search online to find the manufacturer’s website. You can call the manufacturer’s customer service hotline to get this information.
At Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, we have been installing, repairing, and servicing air conditioners for some time. If you have questions about the SEER rating of your unit, our team of experienced technicians will be more than happy to help.
Energy Efficiency Is Not Cheap
Better technology and better performance cost money. The price difference between a 17 SEER and a 15 SEER unit could be up to $2,500. Manufacturers that produce high-efficiency models also have lower efficiency models to meet your budget needs.
Since 2015, state governments have set minimum SEER ratings based on location. For example, in California, air conditioners must have a minimum SEER of 14. A higher efficiency unit, even a 25 SEER, does not blow cooler air than a lower unit. The higher rating means that the air conditioner will provide the same cooling power for less money. For example, the difference between a 14 and 16 SEER rating could be hundreds of dollars in annual operating costs.
How Important Are EER Ratings When Choosing an AC Unit?
The unit energy efficiency ratio (EER) determines energy efficiency, assuming that every day of the heating season is at 95 degrees Fahrenheit. EER is an excellent standard to use if the temperature in your area hits 95 degrees or higher for extended amounts of time. If the average temperature is between 80 degrees and 90 degrees, then SEER is more relevant for you.
Factoring in More Than SEER Ratings
Energy efficiency is an essential factor to consider as you shop for the best air conditioner. However, it should not be your only consideration.
For example, you should know the unit’s power, which is expressed as BTUs. How much noise does the air conditioner produce? Certain parts of Sacramento have restrictions on how loud your AC unit can be. The reliability of the unit, smart connectivity, and warranty are other factors you need to think about.
Comprehensive Plumbing and HVAC Services to Improve Your Comfort
Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning is proud to have experienced NATE-certified technicians who can help you with your air conditioning, heating, and plumbing needs from the North Valley to the Greater Sacramento Area. Our licensed and factory-trained technicians do the job right the first time. We want you to be our client for life.
We can help you with indoor air quality, HVAC repair, and plumbing installation, maintenance, and repair. We are ready for jobs of any complexity. Don’t put up with a failing HVAC system even one second more. Call Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning today.