Your High-Efficiency Air Conditioner: A Guide to SEER Ratings

SEER ratings are a measure of an air conditioner’s efficiency. When you’re buying a new A/C, you can find the seasonal energy efficiency ratio on the air conditioner’s yellow EnergyGuide label. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the air conditioner you purchase will actually achieve that level of efficiency in your home. Here’s a guide to SEER ratings.

SEER ratings measure the amount of energy needed for each unit of cooling provided over a typical cooling season. The higher the rating, the more efficient the system. As of 2006, all units manufactured must have a rating of at least 13, but some systems are rated as high as the mid-20s. Very old units can have a rating as low as 6. High-efficiency A/Cs usually start at SEER 16.

In East Texas homes, where the air conditioner is running for much of the year, it’s important to choose a higher SEER rating. But how your air conditioner performs in your home may differ from the way it performs in a tight laboratory setting. Proper installation, as well as making your home as energy efficient as possible, is key to actually achieving the SEER rating promised by the manufacturer. Work with your trusted cooling and heating contractor to identify areas that need to be improved.

Ducts can be a prime culprit when it comes to energy loss in a home. Duct leaks, as well as ducts that run through uninsulated areas such as the attic or crawlspace, can lead to significant HVAC system inefficiency. Ducts can also adversely affect airflow if they’re too small or poorly designed. Airflow can be affected by defective grilles, as well. Check your ducts for loose connections, rips and tears. Repair them with dust mastic and metal tape.

In addition, your technician should check and adjust the refrigerant charge during your annual tune-up. This is a simple adjustment that can make a big difference in efficiency and cooling.

Please call us at Davis Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc. for more information on SEER ratings and A/C efficiency. We can help to ensure that your air conditioner, whether it’s new or a few years old, meets your expectations. We can also do a home energy assessmentto give you a comprehensive look at areas where you can save energy. We serve homeowners in the greater Houston area.


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