What is a SEER rating?

seer ratingIf you’re considering a new central air conditioning or mini-split system and haven’t shopped for one in a while, you may be surprised at how many acronyms you’ll encounter along the way.

One of the most important of these acronyms is SEER, which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. Here’s a quick SEER Q&A to help you be a more informed buyer when the time comes to invest in a new A/C.

  1. What does SEER measure? SEER measures how efficiently your cooling system turns the energy it consumes into cool air in your home. Think of it as you would MPG in a car: the higher the SEER rating of a unit, the more efficient the unit is.
  2. How is SEER calculated? SEER is a season-long measure of ratio of total cool air produced (measured in BTUs) compared to the energy consumed to produce that cold air (in watt hours) during the cooling season.
  3. What is a “good” SEER rating? Air conditioners produced today are required by law to produce a minimum SEER rating of 13 (in some hotter regions, the minimum SEER is 14). An older A/C unit could have SEER ratings as low as 7 or 8, which means you’ll pay twice as much for the same amount of cool air. Some mini-split systems can have SEER ratings that reach well into the 20s.
  4. What does “payback period” mean? On average and with similarly sized and equipped models, you will pay about 8-10 percent more for every 1-point increase in SEER rating. The payback period is the time it takes to recover – through reduced bills – the extra cost of buying an A/C unit with a higher SEER rating. An 18 SEER central air conditioner might have a three-year payback period compared to a 14 SEER model, depending on how often it’s used (the more often, the faster the payback period).

While SEER rating isn’t the only factor that effects the efficiency of an air conditioning unit in your home (proper installation, maintenance and sizing of your equipment are also critical), it is still an important measure to keep in mind when shopping for a new air conditioner for your North Fork or East End home.

Ready to upgrade your old cooling system? No sweat! Contact Burt’s today for a FREE estimate on a new central air conditioner or mini-split system – expertly installed by our team of pros.