SEER Ratings Guide

If you’re shopping for a new air conditioning system, you may have encountered the term “SEER rating.” But what does a SEER rating measure and why does that matter? Use this SEER rating guide to discover everything you need to know concerning AC efficiency ratings and the new minimum SEER rating increase enacted by the federal government.

What Is a SEER Rating?

SEER is an acronym for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, which is a measure of how easily an air conditioner cools your home — or, more accurately, how successfully it removes heat from the indoor air. The SEER rating is determined by dividing the cooling output of an AC unit by the electrical power it consumes throughout an entire season. Higher SEER ratings indicate a more energy-efficient air conditioning system.

What Is SEER2?

SEER2 is a revised SEER rating system that accounts for real-world consumption patterns and regional climate data. This new metric commenced in January 2023 to offer a better representation of an AC system’s energy efficiency.

Unlike the previous SEER rating system, which only factors in an air conditioner’s energy efficiency in lab conditions, the SEER2 metric delivers homeowners a more realistic picture of how an AC unit will perform once added in their home. As a result, you can expect SEER2 ratings to be a lower number than SEER ratings, although they reflect the same performance.

What Is the Federal Minimum SEER2 Rating in 2023?

The US Department of Energy (DOE) sets minimum efficiency standards for HVAC systems. In 2023, the minimum SEER ratings for central air conditioners improved to 14 SEER (13.4 SEER2) in the northern U.S. and 15 SEER (14.3 SEER2) in the southern U.S.

This is the first rating change in nearly a decade, when the mandated minimum ratings were set to 13 SEER in the north and 14 SEER in the south. The DOE demands any new AC systems bought and installed in the U.S. to reach the new minimums. Even so, homeowners with less efficient air conditioners are not mandated to upgrade to the more efficient models.

How Do SEER Ratings Affect AC Expenditures?

Air conditioning systems with higher SEER ratings have a tendency to cost more initially than those with lower SEER ratings. It is because ACs with greater SEER ratings incorporate more advanced technology and materials to obtain higher performance. While air conditioners with higher SEER ratings may involve a larger investment, they often save you money over the long haul by lowering your utility bills.

For example, let’s say you’re comparing two brands of central air conditioners. System A has a SEER rating of 14 and costs $3,000, but System B has a SEER rating of 18 and costs $4,000. While System B is more expensive up-front, it can save you 22% on your utility costs compared to System A. Depending on the weather and electricity costs where you live, this could equate to hundreds of dollars in financial savings over the years ahead, making System B a more cost-effective option over time.

Why Choose an AC with a Higher SEER Rating? 

You don’t have to settle for the minimum SEER rating in your area, not when the current AC units are rated 26 SEER or higher. Look at the numerous benefits of purchasing such a high-end system:

  • Energy savings: As stated earlier, ACs with higher SEER ratings are more energy efficient. By consuming less energy to accomplish the identical cooling output, a top-quality unit can save you considerably on your cooling expenses every summer for the lifetime of the system.
  • Environmental impact: Reduced energy usage ensures fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Opting for an AC with a higher SEER rating decreases your home’s carbon footprint and adds to a more environmentally safe future.
  • Better comfort: Higher SEER-rated air conditioning systems are more advanced, with features such as two-stage compressors and multi-speed fan motors. Not only does this avoid wasting energy and money, but it enhances home comfort resulting in quieter, more effective operation.
  • Increased home value: New, high-efficiency ACs are more enticing to buyers when you decide to sell your home than aged systems with lower ratings. If you’re planning to move, having a high SEER-rated AC system can enhance the resale value and offer a compelling differentiator to potential buyers. This gives you yet another way to recover your original investment in a high-end air conditioner.

Install a New AC Unit Soon

Now that you understand what SEER ratings to consider, you may be ready to shop for a replacement air conditioner. Turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for some of today’s best HVAC systems. You’ll conserve your utility bills for many years to come by installing an efficient AC unit that conform to or exceeds the federal minimum SEER2 rating. We’re so sure you’ll be pleased with our services that we provide a 100% satisfaction guarantee! To learn more or to arrange a free AC installation estimate, please call a Service Experts office near you.

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