Choosing a new heating and cooling system shouldn’t be purely subjective. One of the most objective ways to make your choice is by looking for the energy rating. In addition to looking for the ENERGY STAR® label, it’s imperative to understand what the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating means. In fact, dismissing it is a major mistake.
What Is SEER?
SEER is the energy rating used for central air conditioners. It measures the amount of electrical output necessary to power an air conditioner over a typical cooling season based on how much cool air it generates. It represents a ratio of cooling in British Thermal Units to the amount of energy consumed during the cooling period in watt-hours. The best analogy is to think of your HVAC equipment as your car and the rating as miles per gallon.
As of 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency requires central air conditioners to have at least a rating of 14-SEER. Prior to that, it was 13-SEER. Higher ratings are better but can be more expensive. While prices vary from brand to brand and region to region, the difference can reach about $1,000 between 14- and 15-SEER systems.
Why Does It Matter?
Checking the unit’s capacity is a common way to determine whether it’s of proper size, but many experts doubt the reliability of BTUs. They claim that some manufacturers inflate ratings to increase the marketability of air conditioners. But with the SEER rating written on the EnergyGuide label, you have a dependable measurement of energy efficiency, not just capacity, to keep in mind.
Is It Enough?
Although the SEER rating can help tell which units meet today’s energy efficiency standards, realize that it can also be misleading. SEER uses 82°F as a baseline, which is far from the average summer temperature of 90°F across most American cities. The best way to pick the right air conditioner for your home is by performing a Manual J load calculation procedure.
Leave the Math to a Hader Heating and Cooling Specialist
A Hader heating and cooling expert can determine that appropriate central air conditioner for your home by considering SEER ratings along with other key factors. Contact us at (513) 612-9201 now to talk about your needs, and learn more about our products.