At Carney & Son 72 Degrees, we are often asked by our customers to explain the meaning of SEER rating. Whether the customer is upgrading from a lower SEER unit to a higher one or a new homeowner is trying to determine if they want to add an HVAC upgrade, determining the most cost effective SEER rating to choose can be tricky.
SEER stands for "Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio" and is the standard measure of air conditioning efficiency during a normal yearly cooling season. We will spare you the confusing mathematical description involving BTU's and watt hours, but do know those are involved. An easy way for us to describe SEER ratings to our customers is to compare it to a miles per gallon rating in a car. Both cars and HVAC systems come with stickers bearing these ratings showing their efficiency. The more cooling or heating a system puts out for each unit of energy it takes up, the higher the SEER rating it will have. A higher rated SEER unit will consume less energy which in turn will reward lower utility bills while having a more positive impact on the environment. If you google search "SEER rating calculator" there are several handy online calculators that you can use to determine the savings that you can expect from upgrading to a higher SEER unit. Some calculators will also even tell you the expected environmental benefit from upgrading to a higher SEER unit by comparing it to removing several cars off the road or planting acres of trees. This is such a benefit to our world that the government actually mandated that all new HVAC units be at least a SEER 13 as of January, 2006. However, some homes still have running 6 or 8 SEER units and those can be serviced and used until time for replacement. Please note that if you are using an older unit with a low SEER grade, you are using more energy and will experience a monthly savings when upgrade to at least the mandated SEER unit. Although it sounds like a no brainer to upgrade the SEER level of a new unit to as high as possible, that isn’t always a practical idea. It is very important to properly weigh energy savings versus the unit costs to be sure that you will recoup your initial investment. The difference in price to install a 13 SEER unit and a 23 SEER unit is substantial. In our calculations, you can expect a $20 savings per year per SEER increase. For further information or to get an estimate on upgrading your unit, please don't hesitate to call us at (843) 352-8140.
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