What Does SEER Mean?
What does SEER mean? Is a higher number better? Does it cost more? Why do I hear 18 SEER A/C systems cool better than 14 SEER systems? They must be better, right?
Let’s take a look at what all these things really mean for your comfort and your pocketbook.
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. You may hear it referred to as Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, but that is incorrect. It represents the ratio of the cooling output of an A/C over a typical cooling season divided by its’ energy consumption, which is measured in Watt-Hours. Stay with me…. It is the average calculated over an entire cooling season and is calculated by using a constant indoor temperature with various outdoor temperatures, which represents a typical cooling season. The ratings vary depending upon regulations and the age of the systems, but it’s important to remember that SEER ratings are not constant and represent a maximum value for the system. Use of the system and the condition of the system will impact the rating the same way the MPG of a car varies depending on the condition of the vehicle and the way you drive. It also depends on the way you cool your space, the outdoor temperature extremes, etc. In short, a higher the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio value equals less electricity usage required to achieve a certain degree of comfort. It saves money on your electricity bill, but can it save in the long run when you upgrade to a more expensive, higher SEER unit?
The Value of High Efficiency
The SEER value of a new system will always represent better efficiency than the SEER value of an old system, so even if both have a SEER value of 14, your older system doesn’t necessarily stay at that value throughout its life. You could say that the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio value of your system could be as high as the number assigned to it, but that doesn’t mean it is always that SEER value. But is an 18 SEER better than a 14 SEER unit? Is the much more expensive 18 going to save you MORE money? The answer is yes, and no. The higher efficiency unit is typically twice as expensive as the base model, but they often come with rebates. It also helps to know what your energy costs over time will be. It depends on many factors that our seasoned professionals can help you estimate before you move forward with a purchase.
We hear all the time, “What Does SEER Mean?”. The bottom line is that if your main concern is comfort, the higher SEER value will appeal to you. If your concern is cost of the system replacement and recouping dollars based upon energy savings, higher SEER AC or Heat Pump can achieve that for you. Make sure to check us out on Facebook!