If you’re ready to buy a new central air conditioner for your home – and if your current unit is more than 15 years old, we recommend that you do – you’re going to run into an alphabet soup of acronyms along the way. Among the most important of them is SEER – or Seasonal Energy Efficiency rating.
Here’s are some SEER basics to help you make a more informed buying choice:
What is SEER?
SEER measures the energy efficiency of your HVAC system. Think of it as you would think of MPG in your car: the higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the unit is at turning energy into cool air.
How is SEER measured?
SEER is a ratio of the total cool air produced during a cooling season (measured in British thermal units, or BTU’S) to the energy consumed (in watt hours) during the same period.
How high are typical SEER ratings today?
New air conditioning units and heat pumps are required by law to produce a minimum SEER rating of 13 (in some hotter areas of the country, the SEER minimum has been raised to 14). Some older A/C units have a SEER rating as low as 8, which means they use double the energy to produce the same amount of cold air as a similarly sized unit with a SEER rating of 16! Most the central air conditioning models we offer have SEER rating’s between 16 and 20; some of our ductless models have SEER ratings as high as 33!
What is a payback period?
The “payback period” is the time it takes to recover the extra cost of buying a higher-SEER A/C unit (prices increase by about 8-10 percent for every 1-point increase in SEER rating, assuming a similar-sized unit from the same manufacturer). The typical payback period for an 18 SEER central air conditioner over a 14 SEER model can be as little as 3 years, depending on the workload (more work = faster payback period).
Of course SEER rating is not the only factor in determining the efficiency of air conditioning in your home: proper installation and maintenance of your equipment is every bit as important, as is correct matching of the system to the cooling load of your home.
Contact Jennings Oil today for a FREE estimate on a new A/C unit for your home, just in time for summer!