What is an Air Conditioner SEER Rating?

An air conditioner SEER rating stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. This rating is made by the regulating authorities taking all the air conditioners out for a test drive. They have evaluated the air conditioners for efficiency based on how they cycle on and off. The SEER rating is a number that is often overlooked by homeowners, however, it can actually be quite useful.

How Can You Use a SEER Rating?

If you know your Air Conditioner’s SEER rating, you can use it to calculate how much you spend on electricity for your air conditioner.

In order to do this calculation we need to know a few other numbers.

  1. The capacity of your air conditioner.
  2. Your air conditioner’s SEER Rating
  3. The number of hours of electricity you pay for during the month

Below is the calculation used in the video below to determine electricity costs:

1. Capacity (Tons x 12,000 BTUs)
divided by SEER rating
= Watts

2. Watts divided by 1,000 = KW

3. Kilowatts x Hours of Use = Total kw hours

4. Total kw hours x electricity cost kw hour ($0.12-$0.15)
= Total $$$ to run A/C for the Summer

If after you do this calculation and the total amount is lower than you typically pay, it is probable you are losing efficiency in your air conditioner. If your air conditioner has lost efficiency it is actually operating at a lower SEER rating than what it should be

What Would Cause Your Air Conditioner to Operate at a Lower Efficiency Rating?

Dirt and airflow are the biggest culprits in air conditioner efficiency. Dirt both indoors and outdoors can cause problems for your air conditioner’s efficiency if it is not properly maintained. If the outdoor coil is dirty the heat transfer capability goes down. When the aluminum fins on the outdoor unit lose their shine they are not as efficient and don’t transfer heat as efficiently as it did in the past. Dirt also causes wear and tear forcing motors to work more overtime than they did originally.

That’s why after having them professionally cleaned using the proper coil cleaners the heat transfer capabilities will improve

What Is The Minimum Air Conditioner SEER Rating?

It is possible you live in a house with a 10 SEER air conditioner, but the new minimum SEER rating is a 13 SEER. This will sometimes depend on where you live, but in our area of Johnson County, KS the minimum will typically be a 13 or 14 SEER.

What SEER Rating Should I Get? (What Is The Difference Between a 14 SEER And a 16 SEER Air Conditioner?)

If you are in the market for an air conditioner the question may come up on what SEER rating should you get. There is a difference in upfront costs. A higher SEER rating on an air conditioner will cause the price to increase. However, from our perspective, the increase in upfront cost will rarely be worth it if you are buying thinking a higher SEER rating will save you more in electricity. It will save on electricity, but only a small amount.

HOWEVER, the higher SEER ratings on air conditioners also correspond with other features that are valuable. Often, a 16 SEER air conditioner will have a two-speed compressor that allows for benefits as far as how your home feels, the humidity control, etc. The other features on the 16 SEER in relation to the 14 SEER is what we find to be the biggest difference over the efficiency rating.

The quantum leap in efficiency is getting rid of that 10 SEER air conditioner and putting in even the most basic of air conditioners today such as the 13 SEER.