When buying a new AC unit, you may notice each has a different SEER rating. This rating is one of the important factors to consider before making your purchase. Let’s walk you through what you need to know about SEER ratings and how to find the best new AC for your home.

What is a SEER Rating?

Before we get into why the rating matters, it’s important we define what it is. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and is a rating scale system for measuring air conditioner efficiency. It’s found by dividing the unit’s total cooling output over the course of a season by the total amount of energy it consumed. Since air conditioner units don’t always work at full capacity, the rating is basically a glimpse of how efficient a given AC unit is on average.

Why does the rating matter? Because it lets homeowners compare one system to the next to understand which is more efficient, which can help you stay cooler, have better indoor air quality, and save more.

What’s the Difference Between EER and SEER?

When shopping for a new AC, you may also notice an EER rating as well as a SEER rating. You may be wondering what it means and what the difference is.

EER stands for Energy Efficiency Ratio and is a standardized measurement of the energy efficiency of an air conditioner. Just like a SEER rating, the higher it is, the more efficient it is. So, what’s the difference? The difference lies in the “S.”

SEER is based on a measurement for an entire season, so the rating is tested and calculated at a variety of outside temperatures ranging from 65 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. EER measures an air conditioner’s efficiency at a single operating temperature, specifically how efficient when the outdoor temperature is 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

When it comes to which is more important for picking an AC, a high SEER rating is the winner. Keep in mind though, you shouldn’t compare the SEER of a unit to the EER of another. Only compare SEER to SEER and EER to EER.

What Qualifies as a “Good” Rating?

When picking out your unit, you want to make sure you pick the right one with a good SEER rating. But what is a “good” rating?

All central ACs were required to have a minimum rating of 10 in 1992, and by 2006, that minimum was raised to 13. Now in 2023, those minimums have been raised from 13 to 14 in northern states and 14 to 15 in southern states (like us in Arizona). So, technically for us in Arizona, a good SEER rating will be 15 or higher. The ratings can go as low as 13, but high energy-efficient models can have ratings as high as 23.

A better question, though – what SEER rating is right for your home? Each home’s needs are different, and a one-size-fits-all rating doesn’t work. That’s because there are other factors to think about, such as your home’s insulation, windows, size, ductwork, etc. that weigh in on which rating is right and how well it will work in your home.

Are Higher SEER AC Units Worth it?

The answer: it depends (mostly on what your goal is).

If your goal is to make your home as energy efficient as possible, then yes, getting the highest SEER rating you can afford is worth it. Newer, higher-rated units have the most energy-efficient capabilities and can help save you money over the long run. You’ll also get to experience two other advantages: eco-friendliness and less noise. If you’re interested in going green, an upgrade to a higher rating can help you achieve your goals. A higher-efficiency system uses up to one-third less fuel than older AC models. They’re also much quieter, so you won’t be bothered by a noisy system again. It’s important to note though, the higher the SEER rating, the more expensive it’s going to be.

If your goal is to make the best financial decision, you can go with a rating between 15-18. This is because you’ll likely be upgrading your current unit from a lower SEER rating, which will still increase your energy savings exponentially without having to empty your wallet for the highest-rated unit.

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We’ve been bringing comfort to the valley for over 30 years, so you can count on us to get your AC installation done right.

Let Comfort World Air Conditioning & Heating Help You Navigate Your Cooling Needs

Still need help understanding SEER ratings? Not sure which AC unit is the best fit for your home? Just need some expert HVAC advice? Comfort World Air Conditioning & Heating is here to help.

If you’re on the hunt for a new air conditioner unit, don’t hesitate to reach out. We can help you find the right solution, and our specialists can install, repair, and maintain your new system for year-round comfort. Our professional team can also provide HVAC maintenance, repair, and air duct repair and replacement. We’ve been bringing comfort to the valley for over 30 years, so you can count on us to get the job done right. Our highly trained technicians in Scottsdale, Arizona, want to bring a little more comfort to your world!