What is a SEER Rating and Why is it Important to Know Yours?

SEER, or seasonal energy efficiency ratio, is a rating system used to measure the energy efficiency of a heating and cooling system. The SEER is calculated by the cooling output (BTU) average for a specific time of the year divided by the total energy usage (watts) within that same time frame. SEERs are often associated with saving money and energy because the higher the SEER, the less energy is used, which can save you money on your electric bill.

Beginning in 2023, the U.S. Department of Energy will regulate that all new residential central air-conditioning and air-source heat pump systems must have a minimum SEER of 14. In the South, the lowest acceptable SEER will move to 15 or higher because of our longer cooling season, which makes it especially important to have an energy-efficient system here.

How do I find my SEER?

Many home comfort systems have an “Energy Guide” sticker. This is where you can find the unit’s SEER. The number may also be listed where the model and serial number are located. To find the SEER, look at the number listed before the model number. For example, if the number says 14AC, this means the machine has a SEER of 14.

How do I know if my home comfort system is efficient enough?

If the SEER of your older unit is less than favorable, it may be time to replace it. Generally speaking, a home comfort system has a lifespan of about 15 years. This is due to the fact that, after about 10 years, the efficiency of your unit begins to decrease. This can result in more frequent repairs, eventually costing you more money than replacing the unit entirely. The regulation of humidity control also becomes a problem with older units, which can result in uncomfortable humidity levels in your home, as well as mildew and mold. A steady increase in your heating and cooling costs can also be a sign your unit needs to be replaced. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, households updated with the new SEER standards will collectively save $2.5 billion to $12.2 billion on energy bills. Though a higher SEER unit may cost more, the extra expense will pay for itself many times over in utility savings.

What are other factors to consider?

When you decide to replace your home comfort system, it’s important to do your homework and be an informed buyer. While the SEER is an important aspect to keep in mind, it should not be your only concern. Other important factors to consider include the unit’s size. In addition to heating and cooling your home, your home comfort system plays an essential role in controlling the humidity levels in your home, so picking the right size unit is essential. You’ll also want to consider the value and reputation of both the manufacturer of the system and the company that installs it, as well as the system’s noise level and how it will affect your total home comfort.

Barineau Heating and Air-Conditioning is the expert on all things SEER! For more information on your home comfort system’s SEER or how to choose a new home comfort system, contact us online or by phone at 850.580.4029.

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