What is the SEER Rating of an Air Conditioner?

Whether you’re on the market for a new air conditioner or you’re trying to better understand the

Energy certificate

performance of your current cooling system, one of the most important things you’ll have to look at is an air conditioner’s SEER rating. Today we’re going to talk all about SEER ratings and how to use them to figure out the efficiency of an air conditioner!

What is an air conditioner’s SEER rating?

An air conditioner’s SEER rating is similar to a car’s MPG (miles per gallon) rating. Whereas an MPG rating measures how efficiently a car uses the gas it consumes, a SEER rating measures how efficiently an air conditioner uses the electricity it consumes.

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It is a measurement of the cooling output of an air conditioner divided by the amount of energy it consumes over a typical cooling season. A higher SEER rating means a unit is more efficient and will be less expensive to operate. SEER ratings were developed by the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute and are the standard efficiency ratings used by the HVAC industry.

What’s a good air conditioner SEER rating for my home?

The SEER rating that’s right for your home will depend on how big of an investment you want to make. In general, the higher the SEER rating of an air conditioner, the more it will cost you up-front. However, you will recover much of the higher installation costs in energy savings over the lifetime of the unit.

In order to give you a frame of reference for a SEER rating, consider the following:

  • As of January 23, 2006, the government requires all newly manufactured air conditioners to have a SEER rating of at least 13. These air conditioners are about 30 percent more efficient than the previous required SEER rating of 10.
  • In order to qualify for federal tax credits, air conditioners must have a SEER rating of at least 16.
  • High-efficiency air conditioners are available with SEER ratings in the 20’s.

If you have any questions about the SEER rating of an air conditioner, or if you’d like a cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact Tiger, your Glen Carbon plumbing, heating and air conditioning company.


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