SEER – WHAT IS IT?
SEER is an acronym and it stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This is a rating system that determines how efficient the chosen air conditioning equipment is. It is also defined as cooling output during typical cooling season divided by the total electric energy input during that same period. Simply stated, the higher the number, the more efficient the equipment is. Why is this important for us to know? According to the US Energy Information Administration, heating and cooling units use more energy than any other system in the home.
Manufacturers of A/C equipment (similarly, auto manufacturers strive for highest Miles Per Gallon or MPG ratings) are constantly seeking new ways to improve and increase their efficiency ratings. In January 2015 the minimum SEER for all manufacturers was set at 14 SEER. Fifteen years prior to that 10 SEER was the minimum. Today in 2022, these older systems are operating with SEER closer to 8 or 9, therefore simply replacing something that old and inefficient even with a basic unit can provide great value to one’s monthly energy usage, especially here in sunny Arizona.
Also, some units have a high SEER but do not perform at that level all the time. This is because SEER ratings are the maximum capabilities for that appliance. Oftentimes, customers assume they should invest in a unit with a higher SEER, but this isn’t always the case. Your SEER rating shows the maximum operating level for your unit, but it might operate at a much lower SEER during peak seasons when it works harder.
It is safe to say that if the cooling season is a mild one, then SEER will not be a huge factor. The ultimate savings occur when the units are off because at those times the energy usage is zero. However, the hotter the weather that these units are operating in, the greater the savings can be expected. None of us have crystal balls to predict the future but just two-years ago in 2020, Phoenix area broke weather records with fifty (50) consecutive days where the air temperature was at 115 deg F!
Lastly, be sure to implement an annual preventative maintenance program on your existing equipment to further ensure that your equipment will operate at its most efficient and reliable manner, regardless what SEER your equipment may have.