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What You Need to Know About the SEER Number on Your Air Conditioner

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and means just that. This rating is supposed to help you understand the energy efficiency that your air conditioner runs on.  There is also a seasonal energy efficiency ratio for furnaces, although these are typically referred to as AFUE standing for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency.

These ratings are dependent on your cooling or heating systems operating efficiency and each rating is defined clearly by the Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Institute to help you in making your long term choices when purchasing new air conditioners. A lot of the older air conditioning systems have a SEER rating of 6 or sometimes even less, now a days, or since January of 2006, the energy efficiency rating of new air conditioners must meet or exceed 13.

The SEER rating is calculated by tracking the amount of cooling your system (outdoor compressor & indoor unit) is able to produce for each unit of energy that it uses. If it needs to consume less energy to put out the same amount of cool air as another conditioner, then you are saving energy and in turn, having to pay less on your utility bills. Although a higher SEER rated air conditioner may be more expensive at initial purchase, it will save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

If it really is that much better for the environment, and saves that much more money, why are all models not higher SEER ratings? Just like I mentioned above, governments have pushed to make this possible. That is why in Canada; in order qualify for the Energy Star the unit must be 14 or greater. How manufacturers get their models ratings high all depends on the components and special features they include in the units. That is why you will pay more for a higher seasonal energy efficiency ratio as it is made up of higher end and more elaborate components.

So it is all pretty self explanatory once you know the basics, the higher your SEER rating, the more energy & money you will save. On an annual basis, even moving from an 8 SEER to a 13 SEER you will save approximately 32%. If you are upgrading to a 21 you can save almost 60%! Check out the air conditioner savings chart we have put together to help you determine how much you could be saving monthly!