What Do SEER Ratings Mean?

AC SEER Ratings Photo

Have you heard the term “SEER rating” numerous times and still don’t know what it means? Sometimes, when it comes to heating and cooling systems, you hear terms that you don’t really understand, and this may be one of them.

So, what does SEER mean in AC and heating units, and what do you need to know about these ratings to be an informed consumer? Whether you’re a seasoned homeowner or just getting to know the ropes, understanding SEER ratings is a game-changer.

Learn about the history of SEER ratings and why it’s important to note when buying a new furnace or AC unit.

What Is a SEER Rating?

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This is used to measure how efficiently an air conditioner operates over a typical cooling season. A higher SEER rating indicates a more energy-efficient system.

The efficiency rating is crucial for two main reasons. First, a higher SEER rating often means you’ll have lower energy bills, saving you money every month. Second, it reflects a more environmentally friendly choice as it signifies reduced energy consumption.

When considering a new AC system, paying attention to the SEER rating can guide you toward a more cost-effective, eco-conscious choice.

Why Were SEER Ratings Created?

These ratings are used by the government to make sure future AC equipment becomes more and more energy efficient. In 2009, the United States adopted the International Energy Conservation Code, or IECC.

This legislation was created to set forth a long-term system of energy efficiency upgrades within certain geographic areas of the United States. The IECC agreement follows a series of upgrades in equipment that continue until 2030. The goal is to get manufacturers and installers to use progressively more and more efficient units.

Do SEER Ratings Apply to Furnaces?

SEER ratings are how air conditioning units are measured for efficiency, but a different system is used for furnaces. Instead of finding a SEER rating on a new furnace, you will find an AFUE rating.

AFUE, which stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, compares the amount of heat your furnace provides your home during the normal heating season and the amount of fuel required to generate that heat.

AFUE ratings are expressed as a percentage, so a percentage of 90 means that nine out of every ten BTUs of energy were returned in the form of heat for your home. In this scenario, only 10 percent of the BTUs were used to turn the fuel source into heat.

What Does 13 SEER Mean?

From 2006 to 2014, all states were required to install only 13 SEER units or better. Starting in 2015, a new standard came into play—every newly installed heat pump must have a 14 SEER rating. Additionally, air conditioning units in the southeastern and southwestern parts of the U.S. are also required to meet the 14 to 16 SEER benchmark. However, here in Indiana and Michigan, our minimum SEER requirement has held steady at 13.

Should I Worry if My Unit Isn’t 13 SEER?

If your unit isn’t 13 SEER, there’s no need to panic. While a 13 SEER unit is the minimum standard for efficiency, it doesn’t mean your system is ineffective. However, upgrading to a higher SEER-rated unit can bring benefits, especially if your current AC system is on the older side.

Ultimately, the decision depends on your budget, energy efficiency goals, and the condition of your existing unit. Consulting with a professional can provide insights tailored to your specific situation, helping you make an informed choice that aligns with both your comfort and budgetary needs.

Understanding SEER Ratings for Your Home

As HVAC systems become more energy efficient, sources such as electricity and natural gas can be preserved over time. That means monthly costs and environmental damage are both reduced. Saving energy helps everyone and our planet. Plus, it lessens the likelihood of power outages due to overconsumption.

If you need help finding a reliable heating and cooling system with proper SEER and AFUE ratings in Northern Indiana or Southwest Michigan, reach out to our team of technicians at Home Comfort Experts. We will inspect your home and recommend the best units that meet your specific needs.

If you are looking to buy a new air conditioning system or furnace or need more information on SEER or AFUE ratings, contact us today by calling (574) 319-7445. Our experts will be happy to help you save time and money during the search for a new system.

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