When looking around for a new air conditioner, you’ll see one term — the SEER rating — come up frequently. Air conditioners are classified according to their SEER ratings. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and it provides information on the efficiency of a particular unit. An AC with a higher SEER rating is going to be more energy efficient than one with a lower SEER rating. How this translates into savings on your utility bills will depend on the size of your home, the type of AC you have, and your preferred temperature.

How SEER Is Calculated

The SEER rating tells us how much energy is used by an air conditioner. To calculate it, you first have to figure out how much heat is removed from the air by the unit. This is measured in British Thermal Units, or BTUs. You then divide that number by the total amount of energy used. This gives us a ratio that can be used when comparing different air conditioners. With this in mind, it makes sense that an AC with a SEER rating of 20 would be considerably more efficient than one with a SEER rating of 10, for example.

One thing that we need to point out is that the SEER rating tells us about the maximum capabilities for air conditioners. This is in contrast to the average performance of a unit. Just know that in reality an AC might not be quite as efficient as it was during the testing phase.

Ideal SEER Ratings

It’s hard to specify an exact rating that you should consider. Everyone has different preferences, and each home is laid out differently. It’s important to note that ACs with higher SEER ratings can be more expensive than their counterparts. Long-term savings in utility bills can offset the initial cost, but you’ll have to determine what your priorities are and how your AC will affect your monthly budget.

In 2006, the US Department of Energy started to require all new central air conditioners to have SEER ratings of at least 13. In 2015, the department raised the minimum SEER rating to 14 in many of the warmer states, including Florida. Since we use our air conditioners so much during the year, an increase in energy efficiency of these units can result in significant savings.

You may be able to find ACs with SEER ratings of 22, 23, or even higher. On the lower end of the spectrum, many units come with SEER ratings of 14 or 15. When thinking about what type of unit you might benefit from, you can take your electricity rates, your usage, and your short-term and long-term budget into consideration. Many people in our area have chosen to get ACs with SEER ratings ranging from 15 to 18, though there are certainly those who have chosen otherwise.

Is It Time to Replace Your AC?

Air conditioners can last more than a decade, and some can continue to work for around two decades. If you currently have an older model, you might be pleased with its longevity. However, it might be using much more energy than a newer model would require. This is especially true if it was installed before 2006, when the SEER requirements went into effect. Older units might only have SEER ratings of 6 or 7. Even if your unit a little more efficient with a SEER rating of 9 or 10, it still doesn’t come that close to a newer model in terms of energy consumption. For this reason, you might want to start thinking about replacing an older unit, even if it’s still able to cool your home.

Need Assistance? Turn to Our Team

The team at Ahoy! Cooling & Heating would be happy to help you with an air conditioner replacement or installation in the Tampa area. Since we were founded in 2010, we’ve grown to become a reputable business that’s known for our commitment to service. Our employees are held to high standards and always work hard on behalf of our customers. We can provide you with a free estimate for an AC installation, if you’d like. We also offer repair and maintenance services, and we specialize in heating and air conditioners. This includes traditional systems and ductless mini-splits. In addition, you can turn to us if you need help with ductwork or indoor air quality systems. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.

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