When you’re searching for a new AC unit, it feels like you have to be an expert to understand all of the variations between makes and models, not to mention each unit’s laundry list of specifications. Don’t worry! At Norman Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, we are experts, and we’re here to help. Let’s go over one especially important specification that you need to understand as you begin your search: SEER ratings.
What is a SEER rating?
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER rating, is the ratio of the output of a cooling system over a normal cooling season to the total energy input over that time period. In other words, it’s a measure of an air conditioner’s energy efficiency during the cooling season, when it must work the hardest. SEER ratings are a lot like a car’s miles per gallon.
Choosing a “Good” SEER Rating
SEER ratings today range from 13 to 25, with 13 being less efficient and 25 being more efficient. The United States Department of Energy (DOE) sets efficiency standards for AC units based on SEER ratings. The AC units sold in Oklahoma and other warmer — mostly southern — states must be at least 14 SEER. It’s important to note that 14 SEER doesn’t mean inefficiency, it just means that a unit is less efficient than one rated at 16 or 18 SEER.
Why SEER Matters So Much
SEER ratings are an incredibly important specification. Why? Because the SEER rating is a direct indicator of energy efficiency, it’s also a direct indicator of how much money you’ll be spending, both upfront and over time. The higher your AC unit’s SEER rating, the less money you’ll be spending on monthly energy bills.
The higher efficiency doesn’t come free, though. It takes better technology and materials to achieve a higher SEER, meaning you’ll pay more for it upfront. While a 14 SEER unit may be less expensive than an 18 SEER unit, the system with higher efficiency will save you more money over time.
What SEER rating is right for me?
The “right” SEER rating for you is one that fits your needs and budget, not a certain number. Any unit over 13 SEER is great compared to your old 8 or 10 SEER unit — you’ll see a big decrease in energy costs. Most homeowners choose a unit between 14 and 16 SEER.
That being said, higher SEER ratings are generally better, providing more savings over time. If you can afford to pay more money upfront, we recommend investing in a high-efficiency AC system to increase your overall energy savings.
At Norman Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, it’s our job to provide expert advice to homeowners looking for a new AC unit. We’ll guide you through the entire air conditioner installation process, from choosing a unit to the day we install it. If you’re ready to replace your air conditioner, count on our professional team.
Contact us today for more information or to get started on your new AC installation.