The SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, of an air conditioner measures the amount of cooling power the system produces with one unit of energy input. To calculate SEER, air conditioning manufacturers compare the cooling output of the system in British thermal units (BTUs) in relation to the energy consumed as measured in watt-hours.
Why does SEER matter?
The primary purpose of this formula is to determine the overall efficiency of the air conditioning system. A system with a high SEER may have greater upfront costs for homeowners who install these types of units, but the overall benefits offset these outlays. Higher SEERs mean reduced energy demands and lower utility bills over the life of the system. Improved efficiency also helps reduce the amount of negative environmental impacts an older, less effective system may cause. For example, a SEER-16 system will reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere by 15 tons while saving the homeowner over $2,000 in utility costs over the life of the system.
Who determines SEER standards?
The US Department of Energy (DOE) determines rules and regulations aimed at governing the minimum standards set forth for residential HVAC systems. Factoring in regional climates, the DOE has imposed elevated minimum standards on specific regions of the United States. Residents in Florida purchasing new air conditioner units today can expect to buy a system with a SEER of no less than 14 given the DOE’s strict standards for the Southeast.
What can impact my AC’s SEER?
Like any system with many moving parts, SEER depends heavily on regular maintenance. Air conditioners that are neglected and not often serviced are more likely to see a reduced SEER over time. Simple DIY maintenance such as replacing filters and keeping debris clear of outdoor components will also preserve the performance of these systems. Environmental considerations also play a large part in how SEER is impacted. An air conditioner operating under the strain of a Florida summer’s heat and humidity will work harder than a unit that is not subjected to such severe conditions further north in Vermont.
While there are many factors that impact the SEER of your system, a well-trained HVAC professional can help you understand the value an air conditioner with a high SEER can bring to your home. American Air Conditioning and Heating’s team stand ready to help you answer any question you may have regarding SEER or the overall efficiency of your system. For air conditioning help in St. Lucie County, please call (772) 398-0023. Customers in Martin County can reach our team by calling (772) 220-1496.