Today’s best air conditioners use 30% to 50% less energy than similar units made in the 1970s. An air conditioning unit that is only 10 years old may be costing you 20% to 40% more to operate than a new, more efficient model. Even if your unit appears to be working fine, it may be time to consider a replacement.
When shopping for a new AC unit, understanding SEER is important. Let’s take a look at what the best SEER rating is, how it affects efficiency and cost, and the difference in the various rating levels.
What Is SEER?
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is the term for measuring the air conditioner’s rate of output (heat removal) during the cooling season compared to how much energy it takes to accomplish the task. SEER is determined by dividing the amount of cooling output over a season by the electricity input.
A higher SEER number means the unit is more efficient, but it also will be more expensive. In cool climates, the most expensive units take longer to achieve payback. If you reside where there is a long, hot season, less expensive units will use more energy and increase operating costs.
SEER and Energy Bills
A unit with a higher SEER rating will result in a slower running energy meter. A lower SEER rating will cause the energy meter to run faster. This means that AC systems with lower SEER ratings can give you a bigger energy bill each month.
If your AC unit is 10 years or older it probably has a SEER rating of 8-10. The result is higher energy costs and the purchase of a new unit may save you substantial money over time.
Climate Control and SEER Rating
Air conditioner performance increases as the SEER number goes up. Let’s take a look at what different SEER rated AC units can do.
13 to 18.5 SEER
This is the level for single-stage models. Single-stage air conditioning units run at full capacity when on. The result is temperature fluctuations between warm and cold in the home. The unit removes less moisture, leaving the house more hot and humid and has a tendency to be louder when running.
If you find this to be the best SEER or price level for you, shop around to find the unit with the best value.
Innovair 13 Seer Oasis Premium R410a Mini Split
One excellent model to consider at this level is the Innovair 13 Seer Efficiency Oasis Premium R410a Mini Split. This unit has a high-efficiency rating and features voltage protection, turbo cooling, and has an HD air purifying filter. The unit operates quietly while cooling your home.
This unit operates at an ambient temperature of 63-90 degrees Fahrenheit, 17-32 Celsius, with a range of 10,000 to 36,000 BTU/H depending on which of the 7 models you choose. This is a complete kit, including a 3-meter copper/aluminum kit, an inter-connecting cable it, an installation manual, a plastic cover for valves, and an LCD wireless remote control. If you are looking for a quality unit in the 13 SEER rating, this is an excellent buy.
Air conditioners at this SEER rating are two-stage units. This means they run on low at 35% to 40% power and high at 100% power. Running on low produces longer cooling periods and better temperature balance. Two-stage models feature variable speed blowers for better temperature control.
Running at about 65% capacity, they use less energy to obtain the same results as lower-priced models. In the process of cooling the home, they serve as a dehumidifier, increasing the home’s comfort level.
This level of air conditioner has a variable-capacity compressor, with speed variations between 25% to 100%. This high-priced unit provides the quietest and most energy-efficient climate control available.
Once you have determined the best SEER level for you make sure you purchase your unit from a full-service retail and supply store like ours. You want a dealer that carries all major brands and can advise you on the best system to meet your needs.
How to Decide on the Best SEER Rating for You
Even if you live in a cool climate and only use your air conditioning unit a couple of months a year, you need to purchase a higher SEER rated 2-state unit to obtain good temperature balance and dehumidification. If you live in a hotter, more humid climate, a higher SEER unit makes sense.
Check Your Current SEER Rating
For your current SEER rating check the condenser unit outside your home. It should have a yellow sticker labeled “Energy Guide.” That label will provide the unit’s SEER rating.
If the sticker is missing or faded, check the air handler inside your home, usually located in the attic or garage. The air handler should also have a sticker showing the SEER rating. As a final resort, find the AC units make, model, and serial number and contact the manufacturer or your local, certified dealer to determine your unit’s SEER.
Depending on the age of your unit you may need to calculate the SEER rating yourself. This is accomplished by calculating the BTU (found on your Energy Guide sticker) per watt-hour of electrical energy used during the cooling season. Take the BTUs and multiply them by the number of hours in your cooling season.
Next, calculate the number of watts per hour used by multiplying the number you found for watts by the hours in your cooling season. This will give you the number of BTUs your air conditioner uses during the cooling season. Divide the number of BTUs by the number of watts per hour to determine your SEER rating.
To decide what SEER rating is best for your climate, calculate your payback period. For this, you need the SEER for the units you are comparing and their individual costs.
For each AC uni you are considering, figure out what it will cost to operate each year. Then take the difference in price and divide by the savings per year in operating costs to determine the payback time. If it is a short payback time it is worth purchasing a higher-priced unit to obtain long-term lower operating costs.
Save Energy With a New AC Unit
Now that you have learned about the best SEER rating for your home or business cooling needs, contact the Air Conditioning Depot for help in selecting your new air conditioning unit.
With all major US brands from 13 to 16 SEER R410 A high-efficiency units, we are happy to help you obtain the comfort level you desire. We are located near the Builders Mall in Nassau, New Providence, and can be reached at (242) 356-0050. Call today!