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How Important Are SEER and EER Ratings?

posted by: Bart Manning

SEER and EER matter when determining an air conditioner's energy efficiency.

SEER and EER ratings can tell you a lot about the energy efficiency of your home. Here's what you need to know about these important metrics and how they can help guide your major HVAC decisions.

What Are SEER and EER Ratings and How Do They Measure Energy Efficiency?

The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) measures the amount of cooling a given HVAC system generates for every unit of energy consumed. In general, air conditioning units with higher SEER ratings are more efficient and, therefore, more cost-efficient to run over time. Typically, each air conditioner's SEER rating appears on the yellow Energy Guide sticker or near the serial number of the manufacturer label. The federal minimum SEER ranges from 13 to 14 depending on the region, but the rating can go up to 25.

The Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) is similar to SEER, but older and intended to be more of a constant measure, as opposed to SEER's seasonal focus. EER calculations involve a constant outside and inside temperature, as well as a constant humidity.

Should Air Conditioning Selection Depend on SEER and EER?

SEER and EER are just two of many factors that matter when choosing an A/C unit. If you prefer eco-friendly cooling and wish to keep your long-term costs down, you'll want to steer clear of units with low SEER ratings. Bear in mind, however, that even air conditioners with 13 or 14 SEER ratings are vastly more efficient than old units, which typically have SEER ratings of just 8 or 9.

When evaluating an air conditioner based on its SEER rating, it is also important to remember that SEER represents a maximum value. A high SEER rating will not ensure efficiency if the unit suffers poor maintenance or if you frequently change the temperature. Higher SEER is better regarding efficiency, but you'll need to take your budget and personal habits into account.

The right air conditioner can promote greater comfort while minimizing energy costs and your impact on the environment. to learn more about A/C energy efficiency.

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