You certainly may notice a label on your air conditioner – its SEER rating, and might be wondering what that means. The term stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, and it measures the system’s overall efficiency. That is extremely important here in Los Angeles, with our sweltering summers and constant need for reliable air conditioning. The more you know about SEER ratings, the more money you can save on air conditioner repairs, monthly costs and other factors.
What is a SEER rating? How does it affect your air conditioner?
In essence the SEER rating simply puts a number on a very nebulous concept: efficiency. It’s a ratio of the system’s cooling ability (measured in British Thermal Units or BTUs) measured against the energy required to run the system (measured in watt-hours). So if your system has a SEER rating of 10, that means it generates 10 BTUs worth of cooling power for every watt-hour of energy is consumes. The higher the rating, the more efficiently it can cool your home and the less energy it uses in the process.
When it comes to your monthly energy bills, that efficiency can mean a great deal. The higher the SEER rating, the less money you’ll need to spend to keep your house cool. High efficiency also means less strain on your system, which means reduced risk of air conditioner repairs down the line and a longer life for your air conditioner overall. Since 2006, all air conditioners sold in the United States need to have a SEER rating of at least 13, but you can go even higher by looking for systems with the Energy Star label, denoting a SEER rating of 14 or above (14.5 above for non-centralized split systems).