If you’re not familiar with the newer A/C systems, you might be surprised to learn that they’ve
become rather energy efficient.
This efficiency has been objectified in the new SEER system.
Here’s what you need to know about it.
“SEER stands for
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio.
It’s like an “efficiency-o-meter” and
it tells you how efficient your
air conditioning system is.”
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio.
It’s like an “efficiency-o-meter” and it tells you how efficient your air conditioning system is.
The higher the number, the more efficient it is.
As of 2006, all A/C systems sold have a minimum rating of 13.
Some manufacturers have been able to bump this up as high as 23, but as you can imagine, that’s
not the norm.
“The SEER rating system
is a bit like the efficiency
ratings for automobiles.”
If you’re installing a unit that’s at least a SEER 16, you should be fine if you live in an area where it’s usually
warm year-round or for a good part of the year.
So, for example, a person living in South Carolina, Georgia, or Florida would save between $1,500 and $2,000
over the life of their A/C system, provided that system lasts for 12 years at a cost of roughly $0.1113 per kWh.
What The Rating Means
The rating system is a bit like the efficiency ratings for automobiles.
People get all jazzed up about a SEER 18, but all this means is that the unit is rated up to 18.
If your system is rated up to SEER 18, you could get an effective rating of “0” at your installation
location, or you could get 18.
You could also limp along at “10,” and not see any difference in your energy bill compared to your
What you really want is a minimum SEER rating, which for the most part doesn’t exist.
The next best thing for you then is to compare multiple units to get an idea of how the unit
might perform relative to other units.
This becomes very difficult to do because the best way to assess the efficiency of a unit is to see it in action.
But, if you don’t know anyone with the unit you’re interested in installed, then you’re guessing about the
quality of the unit.
Manufacturers always publish numbers that paint them in a good light – go with a brand you trust
or buy based on a personal referral, if possible.
The next best thing is to do business with a dealer you trust.
Installing New Systems
Always have a professional dealer install your new system.
That should be a no-brainer, but so many people get consumed with the idea of saving money
that they get a head full of steam and just try to install the thing themselves – bad idea.
These HVAC contractors are pros that have been doing this kind of work for years.
They’re going to be better than you at installing HVAC systems, and maintaining those systems.
“Compare multiple units to get
an idea of how the unit might
perform relative to other units
and do business with
that you trust.”
Finally, shop around for installers if you don’t know or trust anyone.
It’s one of the more difficult things you’ll have to do as a homeowner or businessperson, but
heating and cooling are one of the most important and expensive utilities – and yet something
you absolutely need to survive.
About the author:
Kevin A. Quillen is a real estate broker. He likes to write about home improvement. His articles can be
found mainly on real estate and homeowner sites.
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