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What is a SEER Rating and Why Does It Matter?

When shopping for an air conditioner, you might notice there is a SEER rating listed on the specification list. Most people do not understand what this is, so they simply ignore it. But little do they know, this ratio is quite important to consider when choosing an air conditioner to buy.

What is the SEER Rating?

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This ratio is used to measure how efficiently an appliance uses energy during the cooling season. The number is found by dividing the total amount of energy produced for cooling in a season by the total amount of energy consumed in the process. For a valid result, the calculation should use a constant indoor temperature and variable outdoor temperature ranging from 60 to 100 degrees.

What SEER Rating is Good Enough?

The higher the rating, the better. A higher rating means the AC is more efficient in converting electrical energy to deliver cool air into the house. But bear in mind that the number represents the maximum possible efficiency. So if your AC has a SEER of 18, that means it can be 18 or lower, depending on the conditions of your home and other factors. But there is no way it can ever go up to 19 or 20.

Most modern AC units have a SEER of around 13-21. But AC units with a SEER of 14 dominate the market nowadays. This is about 20% to 30% better energy efficiency than the ACs commonly sold in the previous era.

The latest guidelines from the federal government state that all new AC units sold in the northern U.S. should have a SEER Rating of at least 13. Meanwhile, units sold in the Southeast and Southwest should have at least a 14 SEER. This means that it will be easier for you to get a new AC unit that is energy-efficient.

What is EER and How Is It Different from SEER?

Besides the SEER rating, you might also find EER on a unit’s specification list. EER stands for Energy Efficiency Ratio. The formula is pretty similar to SEER. Both of these serve as measurements of energy efficiency. The only difference is the letter “S,” which stands for “Seasonal.” While SEER measures seasonal efficiency, EER shows a more constant ratio.

Nonetheless, both EER and SEER are beneficial in helping you save on energy bills.

So, which one you should prioritize when buying an AC unit? Well, it depends on your location. If you live in an area where temperatures are quite stable throughout the year, you can rely more on EER. But if you live in, for example, the Northeast, the SEER will give you a more accurate efficiency rating because there may be a wide temperature difference between the coldest and hottest days of the year.

You should consider many factors when purchasing an AC unit. However, SEER Rating is one of the most important factors you should consider. It determines how high your electricity bills will be for years to come.

For more helpful information, see: 5 Causes of a Central AC Blowing Warm Air


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ECM Air Conditioning, with its headquarters located in Boynton Beach, FL, provides air conditioning services within Palm Beach County, Broward County, Martin County, and St. Lucie County. If you’re having issues with your HVAC system, we’re on-call and ready to assist you with your air conditioning needs. So if you’re in need of AC service, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule an air conditioning service call diagnostic! Our AC service experts will diagnose any issues that may be occurring with your HVAC system and help to repair your AC issue on the spot.

Best of all, because ECM is the largest AC company in South Florida, our 69,000 square foot local warehouse facility houses over $1 million in inventory and fully stocks our 127 vehicles on the road, making us one of the very few AC service companies capable of repairing most issues right on the spot. That means no waiting and no downtime without air conditioning for you and your family in the blistering Florida heat! Call us at 561-295-1763 or contact our AC service team online by clicking here.

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