Understanding SEER Air Conditioning Ratings and What They Mean

Replacing an old, worn-out air conditioner with a new unit is a major consideration for most families in the Florence South Carolina area. Not only must you work the purchase into your budget, you need to evaluate the energy efficiency and several other factors about the new unit as well. The SEER number, which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, is a helpful tool for ensuring that you select the most appropriate new air conditioner for your family’s needs.

Using SEER Air Conditioning Ratings to Your Advantage

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) developed the SEER program in 1992 to help consumers evaluate the expected energy efficiency of a new air conditioning unit. SEER is expressed in whole numbers, with higher numbers offering the greatest energy efficiency. In January 2015, the DOE mandated that new cooling units sold in the southern region of the United States have a minimum SEER of 14. This region includes 15 states and the District of Columbia in addition to South Carolina.

Newer models have ratings that go all the way up to 25. In a climate like South Carolina that has a long cooling season, we recommend selecting a new unit with the highest SEER available. According to the DOE, installing a highly efficient air conditioner can save consumers approximately 15 percent per year on their cooling bill. The Energy Star label is one way to tell that you’re purchasing an air conditioner with high expectations for energy efficiency. Since the lifespan of an air conditioner is 15 to 20 years, it’s important to take your time to make the right choice for your situation.

Other Considerations When Purchasing a New Air Conditioner

  • Besides looking for the Energy Star label and a high SEER number, the DOE recommends considering the following factors before selecting a new cooling unit:
  • A reminder to change the unit’s filter since a clogged filter is a leading cause of inefficiency
  • Quiet operation
  • An air handler with variable speeds, particularly for newer ventilation systems
  • The option to switch the unit to fan-only at night to reduce your operating cost
  • A fan switch with an automatic-delay feature to turn the fan off a few minutes after the compressor shuts off

It’s also essential to ensure that you have enough space in your home to fit the new air conditioner and that you hire a professional contractor to install it. If a unit is installed improperly, it won’t be any more efficient than your older unit with a low SEER. At AirPro Comfort Systems, we take the time to ensure that we place your new air conditioner in an ideal location and that it has the proper airflow rate and refrigerant charge as recommended by the manufacturer. We welcome your questions about SEER, specific brands of air conditioners, or anything else you need to know before making this major purchase.