SEER stands for “seasonal energy efficiency ratio.” It is a rating system for measuring the cooling performance of an air conditioning unit. The SEER rating scale is a way for consumers to compare the energy efficiency of one air conditioning unit to another.
The New Legal Standards for Air Conditioners
In 2023, the Department of Energy set new standards that require residential air conditioning units to meet a specific SEER rating. These rules are different in the northern part of the United States than they are in the southern states. In Colorado, homeowners installing new air conditioners will need to purchase units with a SEER number of 14 or higher. In the southern United States, where air conditioners are used more heavily, new installations must have a SEER number of 15 or higher.
The SEER Range
The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the air conditioning unit is. A very efficient AC unit will have a rating in the mid-20s. The legal range today begins at 14, but less efficient units with lower ratings were previously installed.
In 1987, the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act began making energy efficiency requirements for air conditioners. At the time, technology wasn’t far along, and the units were not as efficient as they are today. In 2006, the EPA set new requirements. A unit sold at that time may still have a SEER rating below 10, which would never be sold today.
A unit with a rating of 14 would be legally acceptable. It would likely be efficient enough for homeowners in Colorado who don’t use their air conditioners all that often. However, homeowners concerned about their monthly energy costs will want to consider investing in an air conditioning system with a higher SEER rating.
While units with a higher SEER rating do usually cost more up front, they save homeowners money in the long run by lowering their utility bills. This is why many homeowners choose to invest in an air conditioner with a SEER rating between 15 and 20.
Will Investing in a Higher SEER Rating Really Cut My Energy Costs?
Yes, air conditioners with a higher SEER rating can result in a significant amount of savings. The SEER rating system measures the efficiency of a unit over the course of a cooling season. On average, upgrading to an air conditioner that is 1 SEER rating higher will result in approximately a 7% savings on energy use for the year.
Note that there are other factors that impact your individual utility costs. For instance, factors like how often you use your air conditioning unit, how well-sealed your home is, and the amount your utility company charges per kilowatt hour will also impact your energy bills.
A well-maintained air conditioning unit will always perform better than one that has fallen into ill repair. If you’re looking to improve your system’s efficiency, our team of technicians at Unique Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. can help you with regular AC maintenance. During a regular appointment, we will inspect your unit to make sure that all of the parts are working correctly. We’ll also check for dirt, grime, and dust buildup. Our technicians will clean the unit to improve its efficiency and make sure that the air in your home is clean.
How Do I Know if It’s Time to Upgrade My AC?
If your goal is to make your home more energy efficient, installing an air conditioning unit with a higher SEER rating will help you get there. If your air conditioner is more than 15 years old, you can expect to see a significant difference in your energy use, especially if you use your AC frequently during the warmer months. Your home will also become more comfortable when you invest in a higher-quality HVAC solution.
Other signs that it may be time for a replacement include costly repairs and uneven temperatures in your home.
Ask for the Professional Help You Need
This can be a major decision. If you’re unsure, it’s worth talking to an HVAC professional. Our team at Unique Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. often helps homeowners in Northglenn, Colorado and the Denver metro area make these decisions. Before installing an air conditioner, we can evaluate the size of your home and your air quality goals and help you decide on a unit that will best meet your needs.
We can also assist you with your residential heating repair, installation, or maintenance. Our team can also replace your water heater. We help make Colorado homes more comfortable with our air quality services, including air duct cleaning and air scrubbers. We can help with your commercial HVAC needs as well.
Installing a new air conditioning unit can be an impactful way to lower your energy bills and make your home more comfortable. Our team of NATE-certified technicians helps homeowners install high-quality air conditioning units in Northglenn and the Denver metro area. Contact Unique Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. today to learn more.