Do you know how efficiently your air conditioner operates? The answer lies in the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER).
What Is SEER and Why Is It Relevant?
SEER measures how efficiently an AC or heat pump will perform throughout the summer season. The higher the rating, the less energy the system will use to provide cooling.
If you install a new central split-system AC or heat pump, your new system will have a federally mandated rating of SEER 13 or higher. That minimum changed in 2006 from a minimum rating of 10. Older systems can have a rating as low as 6.
Comparing the efficiency ratings of a new system to one that is 10 years old demonstrates why knowing your system's efficiency ratio is so important. An AC system with a SEER rating of 13 is 30 percent more efficient than one with a rating of 10. That means it uses 30 percent less energy to do the same job.
If you bump up the system to a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio of 16, the level where high-efficiency models begin, the savings get even better. However, when you go with a higher efficiency level, you will pay more for the system. The cost for the higher efficiency may not be worth it, even with our hot Chicago area summers. A qualified HVAC technician can run the numbers and give you a recommendation that fits your home's unique size and needs.
When Does SEER Become a Practical Consideration?
When your AC or heat pump breaks down, you may be faced with a repair or replacement decision. If the repair costs for an older cooling system exceed its current value, you should consider replacing it with a new one. With lower operating costs, you will have a higher ROI almost immediately.
If you need a qualified HVAC contractor to evaluate your existing A/C system's SEER, contact Comfort24-7. We have a network of contractors serving Chicago, northwest Indiana, and southwest Michigan.
Written by Randy Gailit