You can tell the efficiency of your air conditioner by the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) listed on the unit. This guide shows you how SEER is calculated, what the numbers mean, and how to choose air conditioners with ratings appropriate for your needs.
What is SEER?
The SEER rating is designed to show you how an air conditioner can cool the average home. Since you only use the air conditioner for part of the year, the rating is calculated based on the number of hours of expected use for a specific number of days. SEER measures the relationship of the air conditioner’s output in British Thermal Units (BTUs) and the energy it consumes in electric watt-hours.
How Is SEER Determined?
The SEER rating of an air conditioner is a measurement of the machine’s efficacy in cooling a space to an appropriate temperature. During testing, researchers start with a wide range of outdoor temperatures and a variety of indoor temperatures, and put the air conditioner through the work of cooling to a designated temperature. The resulting rating tells you how efficiently the machine functions, so that you can select a model that meets your needs best. The manufacturer tests the unit for the average amount of output needed to cool based on outdoor temperatures ranging from 65-104 degrees Fahrenheit, reflecting the changing temperatures through the day, and during the season. The result yields a SEER rating, typically in the double digits for new models.
How Do I Know a Machine’s Rating?
You can find the air conditioner’s SEER rating on the front of the unit, and also usually in the model number. What you do with the information is up to you. The right rating for any given home depends on a number of factors, including
- climate of the region
- size of the home
- number of occupants
- predicted use
If you have an old Sacramento air conditioner and you do not expect to need to use a new one very much, you can likely get away with a SEER rating of the national minimum of 13. When you want the best efficiency, you can get air conditioners with a SEER rating of 25. In order to achieve the Energy Star label, air conditioners must have a SEER rating of 15 or higher.
Are There Other Ways to Estimate Cooling Efficiency?
An older method to measure cooling efficiency is the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). This rating shows you what it takes for an air conditioner to cool a home to one specific temperature, from one outside temperature. The dynamic nature of the SEER calculation makes it often a more accurate estimation of an air conditioner’s overall efficiency.
Selecting an air conditioner based on its efficiency is an excellent choice, particularly in Sacramento’s hot summers. Considering the SEER ratio of any particular machine helps you to make a better investment in your home and your comfort. To schedule a consultation about air conditioning or other HVAC concerns, contact us at Ace Plumbing.