Understanding SEER Ratings

Every Stafford, Texas, homeowner wants their house to be as energy-efficient as possible, especially during the hottest months. If you’ve been thinking about upgrading your air conditioner, you should consider several things before buying a new unit. The most important by far is knowing what Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating your new unit has. Here is a guide that will help you understand SEER ratings and choose the most efficient AC unit for your home.

What Is the Purpose of the SEER Rating?

While you’re researching new air conditioning units, you’ll probably notice that every model comes with a SEER rating. This rating, which is determined by the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, serves several different purposes. Most importantly, however, it indicates the energy efficiency of a particular air conditioning unit.

A unit’s SEER rating is based on the amount of energy it consumes compared to its cooling output. Air conditioners with higher SEER ratings are more efficient, and these units tend to be more expensive than units with lower ratings. Though you’ll need to pay more upfront if you want to purchase an air conditioner with a high SEER rating, you’ll save a lot of money in the long-term by lowering your energy bills.

Minimum SEER Ratings by State

One of the most important things to understand about SEER ratings is that the minimum rating that your air conditioning unit must have depends on where you live. Before 2015, there was no such requirement. Currently, minimum SEER requirements are dictated by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The country is broken down into three distinct regions with different minimum SEER requirements:

  • North.
  • South.
  • Southwest.

Since Texas is in the South region, your air conditioning unit must have, at minimum, a SEER rating of 14. If you’re planning to install a packaged unit in your home, your unit must have a minimum heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) rating of 8.0. HVAC systems, regardless of the state, must also have a SEER rating of 14 or higher.

How to Choose the Right SEER Rating for Your Home

In addition to making sure that you’re complying with your region’s minimum requirements, you should keep several other factors in mind to ensure that you choose an air conditioner with the right SEER rating. For example, you’ll need to know the square footage that you’re intending to cool because you’ll need a unit that’s sized to match your home’s needs. Buying a unit that’s too large is just as bad as purchasing one that’s too small.

To get the most out of your system, you should make sure that your home doesn’t have any issues that could impact the efficiency of your new unit. For example, before a new air conditioning system is installed, a heating and cooling professional should examine your ductwork. The ducts in your home can become damaged over time and develop air leaks that can limit the efficiency of your AC unit, even if it has a high SEER rating. Having your ductwork sealed and more insulation installed will optimize the efficiency of your unit.

Before purchasing a new air conditioner with a high SEER rating, you should spend some time thinking about how long you’re expecting to stay in your home. If you’re planning to purchase a more expensive unit, it will take a few years before your lower energy bills will allow you to recoup your investment. If you’re not expecting to be in your home for much longer, you may not want to spend as much money on your new air conditioner, although a better unit typically increases the resale value.

Get Help Choosing a New AC Unit

If you need help choosing an air conditioner with the right SEER rating for your home, call Davis Air Conditioning & Heating at 888-710-5530. One of our heating and cooling professionals will examine your home and help you choose a unit that will make it easy and cost-effective to keep your house comfortable. With us at your side, choosing the right air conditioner for your Stafford, Texas, home will be a breeze.

Image provided by Shutterstock

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