What Is SEER and Why Does It Matter?

If you have ever shopped for a new air conditioner or heat pump, you may have come across SEER. While manyAir Conditioner 300X222 1 Southern California homeowners know the SEER of the cooling system they purchase is significant, they don’t fully understand what it is and why it’s important.

What is SEER?

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It was developed by the U.S. Department of Energy in order to give consumers a way to accurately compare the energy efficiency of different heat pumps and
air conditioners. The higher the SEER, the more energy efficient the system is.

How is the SEER determined?

To calculate the SEER of an air conditioner or heat pump, the amount of cooling supplied during a cooling season (measured in Btu’s per hour) is divided by the power consumed (measured in watts) during the same period. The cooling equipment is tested in a laboratory setting where an exact set of conditions is known to exist.

The U.S. Department of Energy specifies these precise conditions in order to provide an environment where each air conditioner and heat pump can be evaluated under the same circumstances. This allows the SEER to be used to accurately compare the efficiency of cooling equipment from different manufacturers.

How much will you save?

Current U.S. law dictates that all air conditioners and heat pumps manufactured after 2006 must have a minimum SEER of 13. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this represents a 30% increase in efficiency from the previous minimum SEER of 10. In Southern California, if your system is over 10-years old, you could save as much as 40% on your cooling costs.

Other considerations that affect SEER

It is important to note that an air conditioner or heat pump’s SEER is measured under a specific set of circumstances with ideal conditions. For example, if your home has significant air leaks or an improperly sized duct system, it will greatly affect the efficiency of your air conditioner.

Also, while the SEER is a significant factor in the purchase of a new cooling system, it should not be the only one. Other considerations include:

  • Size of system – Air conditioners and heat pumps that are too big or too small for your home waste energy.
  • Installation company – Even if you purchase a high SEER system, the energy savings can be negated by a poor installation.
  • Additional features – Many cooling systems have additional features that both extend the life of the unit and increase energy efficiency.

Since our beginning in 2000, Service Champions has been proudly providing heating, cooling, and air quality service to Southern California homeowners. We have satisfied customers in Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County and San Bernardino County.

We would love to discuss your options for a new, energy efficient air conditioner or heat pump. Schedule a free in-home estimate today.