What is SEER and Why Should it be Important to You?
The SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) rating for central air conditioners and heat pumps is the standard by which their efficiency is expressed on the EnergyGuide label. The rating is similar to the MPG rating for vehicles. It tells consumers how much electricity the equipment uses to achieve a specific amount of cooling. In this region, the minimum ratings for central air conditioners must be 13 and 14 for heat pumps.
How They’re Rated
The U.S. Department of Energy requires manufacturers of all cooling systems to test their efficiency. Central system efficiency is measured by running the equipment for a period of time equal to a typical cooling season and measuring the amount of electricity it uses. They establish an outdoor temperature of 82 degrees to cool an interior space to 80 degrees with a humidity of 50 percent.
Within the SEER-rating system, each single increase in the rating indicates the system uses 10 percent less electricity. A central A/C with a rating of 15 will use 20 percent less than one with a 13 rating. When you’re choosing a new cooling system, its efficiency rating has a direct correlation between its initial cost and ongoing energy bills. Higher efficiency translates to higher equipment cost, but lower operational expenses.
System Selection and Lifetime Costs
If you plan to keep your home relatively cool throughout the summer, your lifetime costs will be lower if you choose equipment with a high SEER rating. On the other hand, if you don’t require extensive cooling, a system with less efficiency may be your best choice. How long you plan to stay in your home also makes a difference. If you plan to sell in the near future, you may not realize savings by installing an upgraded system.
Selecting your next system by considering the SEER rating will help you make an informed decision about this important appliance.
At Sobieski Services, Inc., our goal is to provide customers in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey the information they need about home comfort systems and energy use to save money and live in a comfortable home.
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