SEER Ratings Guide

As you do research for your next air conditioner, you perhaps have encountered the term “SEER rating.” What exactly does this rating mean, and why is it important? Use this SEER rating guide to learn everything you need to know regarding AC efficiency ratings and the new minimum SEER rating increase enacted by the federal government.

What Is a SEER Rating?

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, which is a measure of how easily an air conditioner cools your home — or, to be more precise, how effectively the equipment removes heat from the indoor air. The SEER rating is scored by dividing the cooling output of an AC unit by the electricity it consumes throughout a whole season. Higher SEER ratings signify a more energy-efficient air conditioning system.

What Is SEER2?

SEER2 is an updated SEER rating system that factors real-world consumption patterns and local climate data. This new metric came into effect in January 2023 to offer a more precise depiction of an AC system’s energy efficiency.

Different from the former SEER rating system, which only factors in an air conditioner’s energy efficiency in lab environments, the SEER2 metric offers homeowners a more authentic picture of how a cooling system will function once setup in their home. So, you can assume SEER2 ratings to be a lower figure than SEER ratings, despite the fact that they exhibit the same performance.

What Is the Federal Minimum SEER2 Rating in 2023?

The US Department of Energy (DOE) sets minimum efficiency specifications for cooling systems. In 2023, the minimum SEER ratings for central air conditioners increased to 14 SEER (13.4 SEER2) in the northern U.S. and 15 SEER (14.3 SEER2) in the southern U.S.

This is the first rating change in nearly a decade, when the required minimum ratings were required to be 13 SEER in the north and 14 SEER in the south. The DOE called for any new AC systems marketed and installed in America to meet the new minimums. However, homeowners with less efficient air conditioners do not need to trade them in.

How Do SEER Ratings Impact AC Costs?

Air conditioners with higher SEER ratings are likely to cost more initially than units with lower SEER ratings. This is because ACs with better SEER ratings integrate more innovative technology and materials to obtain higher performance. However, while air conditioners with higher SEER ratings may require a larger investment, they can save you money over the long haul by lowering your energy bills.

For instance, imagine comparing a couple of central air conditioners. System A has a SEER rating of 14 and costs $3,000, while System B has a SEER rating of 18 and costs $4,000. While System B is more costly up-front, it could possibly save you 22% on your utility costs when put next to System A. Based on the environment and electricity costs in your area, this could perhaps add up to hundreds of dollars in savings over the life of the system, making System B a more economical option in the long run.

Why Choose an AC with a Higher SEER Rating? 

Times have changed, and homeowners are not stuck settling for the minimum SEER rating in your region, not when the current AC units are rated 26 SEER or higher. Consider the various benefits of investing in such a high-end system:

  • Energy savings: As stated earlier, ACs with higher SEER ratings are more energy efficient. By consuming less energy to achieve the identical cooling output, a high-end unit can save you significantly on your cooling bills every single summer for the life span of the system.
  • Environmental impact: Decreased energy consumption will mean fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Selecting an AC with a higher SEER rating decreases your home’s carbon footprint and lends to a more sustainable future.
  • Improved comfort: Higher SEER-rated air conditioning systems are more advanced, with features such as two-stage compressors and multi-speed fan motors. Not only does this avoid wasting energy and money, but it enhances home comfort and results in quieter, more dependable operation.
  • Top home value: New, high-efficiency ACs are more desirable to buyers when you decide to sell your home than old systems with lower ratings. When it’s time to move, having a high SEER-rated AC system can enhance the resale value and give your property an advantage to potential buyers. This offers you yet another way to recoup your early investment in a high-end air conditioner.

Install a New AC Unit Today

Now that you realize what SEER ratings to seek out, you may be ready to shop for a replacement air conditioner. Turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for access to some of today’s best HVAC systems. You can reduce your utility bills for many years to come by installing a reliable AC unit that meets or exceeds the federal minimum SEER2 rating. We’re so sure you’ll be pleased with our services that we have a 100% satisfaction guarantee! For more information or to arrange a free AC installation estimate, please contact a Service Experts office near you.

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