When it’s time to upgrade your home’s HVAC system, it’s important to know the SEER rating or seasonal energy efficiency ratio. The U.S. Department of Energy determines it for air conditioning units, and they’re used by the HVAC industry to measure a unit’s overall performance. Heat pump and gas furnace efficiencies are determined by different measurements.
Since 1992, when former President Bush signed the Energy Policy Act establishing a SEER rating of 10 as the industry benchmark, the SEER rating has been the standard for measuring cooling system efficiency. Over time, with ongoing improvements in technology, the required minimum SEER for maximum efficiency has increased. The higher the SEER the more efficient the cooling unit.
For the first time since the SEER rating measurement was instituted, there will be different SEER rating requirements based on the geographic location of the installation beginning in 2023. New central air conditioning units and air-source heat pump systems in the northern U.S. will be required to have a minimum SEER rating of 14. In the southern U.S., where cooling usage has a greater impact on energy usage, the required SEER will be 15.
Why You Should Care About The SEER Rating
As stated before, a higher rating means the unit has a greater efficiency level. The higher the efficiency, the more homeowners will save on utility costs. It tells consumers how much electricity a unit will use to achieve specific levels of cooling. With each increase in the numerical SEER rating, there’s a 10 percent decrease in electric usage. For example, a 15 SEER cooling unit will use 10 percent less energy to operate than a 14 SEER unit.
There are other factors to consider, however, when deciding which SEER rating is best for your home’s air conditioning unit, such as the number of years you plan to stay in your home. Other considerations are the length of the cooling season and how much you run your air conditioner. If you’re planning to sell your home in a relatively short amount of time after purchasing an air conditioning unit, you may not realize the overall energy savings needed for a good return on your investment. If you live in a milder climate and/or you prefer your home a little on the warmer side in the summer, a higher rating may not be what you need.
Call Kotz to Learn More
If you’d like to know more about SEER ratings and how to choose what’s best for you, call Kotz Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. Our professional staff has all the information you need to make an informed decision.