SEER Efficiency Ratings: How the Numbers Add Up
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is a rating system that measures the cooling efficiency of A/Cs and heat pumps. Specifically, the rating gauges the efficiency of an air conditioner or heat pump over the duration of an entire season. You may notice some equipment is labelled with the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). The EER simply measures the equipment’s efficiency during very hot weather, while SEER is meant to measure actual performance over seasonal conditions.
How SEER efficiency ratings are calculated
The U.S. Department of Energy mandates a set of tests for all newly manufactured air conditioners. The cooling output of an A/C system, including the outside unit, cooling coils and fan or blower motors, is measured under a specific set of conditions that assume an outdoor temperature of 82 degrees, an indoor temperature of 80 degrees, and 50 percent humidity. The SEER efficiency ratings also take into account how long it takes an air conditioner to reach peak operating efficiency.
The numbers explained
SEER numbers are relatively simple to compare.. An A/C with a SEER of 12 is 20 percent more efficient than an A/C with a rating of 10. After 2006, the federal government required all air conditioners to achieve at least a SEER of 13.With air conditioners rated as high as 25, it makes sense to replace older units that may be rated as low as 6 or 7. High-efficiency A/Cs and heat pumps generally begin at SEER 16.
However you should understand that SEER ratings are calculated under specific conditions that may not be recreated in the field. This is why during installation, it’s vitally important that your technician make sure system airflow and refrigerant are properly calibrated and measured, that the cooling system is correctly sized for your home through a Manual J load calculation, and that the ductwork is compatible with your new A/C or heat pump.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems). To learn about the best unit for your home, please contact us at Sobieski Services.
Image Credit: FernandoOliveira