When it comes to choosing an air conditioner, one of the most important factors to consider is its SEER rating. SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, is a measure of how efficient an air conditioner is in cooling your home. And, higher SEER-rated units are more energy-efficient than the lower-rated ones.
This means that as you search for the best AC brand to buy, the SEER rating should always be among the guiding factors. You don’t want to install an AC that will continually add to your monthly energy bills.
So, what’s the best SEER rating for AC units?
Let’s find out:
What is the Best SEER Rating for AC Units?
Whether installing a new AC for the first time or replacing an old one, considering the SEER rating in your search is paramount.
Generally, this is a rating that tells you how efficiently a certain AC unit will perform in cooling your home. This is mainly in terms of energy consumption.
The SEER rating is given in BTUs (short for British Thermal Units). The higher the number of BTUs, the more efficient the unit will be.
In short, a higher SEER rating means that an AC unit consumes less energy to cool your home by a considerable margin. This is essential both for cost-saving measures and for being eco-friendly.
Now, after realizing the importance of a high SEER rating in an AC unit, what is the best SEER rating for an AC unit?
Well, as of now, the highest commercially available SEER rating for air conditioners stands at 25. This makes it about 50% more energy-efficient than units with lower ratings and about 44% more efficient than the minimum, which is 14 SEER.
The good thing about the SEER is that it’s more comprehensive than the EER (energy efficiency ratio) rating. Generally, the EER offers an AC rating at ideal conditions (95°F).
However, the SEER ratings show an AC’s performance for the entire summer season, between 65°F and 104°F. This is usually based on the following formula:
SEER = (1 × EER100% + 42 × EER75% + 45 × EER50% + 12 × EER250%)/100
How Do You Find the SEER Rating on an AC?
The SEER rating of an AC unit is usually indicated in the unit’s specification area. And, you’ll note that most older AC versions have lower SEER ratings, mostly of 14, while the newer ones have higher ratings.
Therefore, before buying an AC unit, always ensure that you’ve ascertained the SEER rating of the product. This way, even as you add comfort to your home, you do it in an energy-efficient way.
Generally, an AC unit with a 16 SEER rating is satisfactory. However, as the number rises, the more energy-efficient the AC becomes. For example, 18 SEER is better than 16 SEER, while a 20 SEER unit is even better.
New ACs normally have SEER units from 14. Only devices manufactured between the 1980s and 1990s contain a SEER rating of 10. In fact, as of 2015, many states enacted regulations to have the minimum SEER unit at 13 or 14 (based on the state).
Is the SEER Rating Everything You Need?
Certainly not! Despite the SEER rating being quite an important aspect of an AC system, it’s not the only factor that determines the efficiency of an AC. Installation is another crucial factor that you must consider.
Therefore, after choosing an AC with the best SEER rating, ensure that the installation is done right and by a professional. Not having your AC properly installed will make even an AC unit with a higher SEER rating perform poorly.
For this reason, no matter the SEER rating indicated in your AC unit, the following installation issues should be addressed:
- There must be adequate indoor space to allow new installation, as well as repair and maintenance. Also, the installer should provide a furnace or ductwork access door to allow easy access and maintenance of the evaporator coils.
- The installer should use a duct-sizing procedure.
- All ducts should be sealed and attic ducts insulated.
- There should be enough supply registers for ample provision of cool air.
- They should install enough return air registers to remove warm air from your space and back to the unit efficiently.
- The unit should be placed where no objects are blocking it.
- The thermostat should be far from heat sources to ensure it reads the right ambient room temperature.
- Your installer should ascertain that the refrigerant charge and airflow rate are exactly as the manufacturer specifies.
Considering these steps will ensure that your AC operates optimally and its efficiency is not altered by external factors.
How to Maximize a Lower SEER AC Unit
Even with a lower SEER AC unit, you can make a few improvements in your home to maximize its efficiency. For instance, the following steps might help make a 14 SEER unit perform well like a higher SEER unit.
- Resealing and double insulation of the ductwork
- Installation of the exhaust fan in your attic
- Use of Low E windows and solar screens
- Using radiant barriers on the roof
- Double insulating the ceiling
This way, even without the best SEER rating for home AC units, you are able to get the best performance of your low SEER rating unit.
Efficiency Difference for Different SEER Ratings
The best SEER rating for AC units has changed significantly over time. As mentioned earlier, 13 and 14 SEER ratings are the minimums for any AC units in most states.
High-rated air conditioners perform better than low-rated ones. Take the example of a 15 SEER and an 18 SEER unit. When comparing the two, you’ll note that the 18 SEER is 16.7% more energy efficient than the 15 SEER one; 1-(15/18).
On the other hand, a 20 SEER rated unit will be 35% more efficient than a unit with a 13 SEER rating. This means that higher-rated units are better in energy consumption than their lower-rated counterparts.
So, always be keen when making that choice. The only thing you should note is that the more efficient AC units will be a bit expensive when buying. But, their cost of operation is lower. For the best advice and installation of AC units contact Anderson Air.