Air Conditioning SEER Rating
The SEER rating of an air conditioning system tells how much energy will by needed by the AC unit to do the work of cooling your home. The minimum SEER rating for all new systems produced in Texas is 14 SEER.
A higher SEER rating means that you need less electricity to run your air conditioner. However, higher SEER systems can cost significantly more than lower SEER units.
When picking the right SEER for your AC system, oh say can you SEER? When you are shopping for a new Air Conditioning system you will most likely hear the company talk about SEER rating. They will say, “Here is a 16 SEER system or a 14 SEER system."
SEER is not to be confused with tonnage. Tonnage is the size (capacity, not weight) of the air conditioning system that is used for your specific home size/type and geographic location. People in Fort Worth and Keller, which have very hot summers, would need more AC output for their square footage then somebody in Idaho.
Check out our article on Air Conditioning Tonnage here.
So what is SEER?
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. Sounds like a mouthful. Basically SEER is a fancy way for stating how much energy it takes to do the work of conditioning your home.
A higher SEER unit uses less energy to do the same job as a lower SEER one. Think of it as miles per gallon for your home AC. A higher SEER is getting you better MPG then a lower one.
But should you invest in a higher SEER system when purchasing a new AC or Air Conditioning equipment? Some things to consider:
Location, Location, Location. Location matters because as we said above, if you live in Keller, North Richland Hills, Fort Worth, Watauga, Haltom City, Saginaw, Roanoke, Southlake, Hurst, Bedford or Euless and need a new AC system you are probably using the system a lot.
Thus it is most likely your most energy consuming appliance in your home. A higher air conditioning seer rating would lower electric bill costs but might cost you more upfront, although there are exceptions to this.
The Department of Energy has set ‘Zones’ for the country and what mandatory SEER rating they need to have. All Air Conditioning systems manufactured after January 1st 2015 have to have a minimum rating of 14.
Check your location to see what zone you live in and what tonnage is recommended for your square footage. For those in Fort Worth Texas we use the
Zone 1 Chart:
• 1.5 Tons covers 600-900 sqft
• 2.0 Tons covers 901-1200 sqft
• 2.5 Tons covers 1201-1500 sqft
• 3.0 Tons covers 1501-1800 sqft
• 3.5 Tons covers 1801-2100 sqft
• 4.0 tons covers 2101-2400 sqft and
• 5.0 Tons covers 2401-3000 sqft
Will a higher SEER system cost me more in the long run, or less? This is really the only question that matters when picking out a new AC system and its SEER rating.
If you buy an electric car for $400,000 and it saves you only $100,000 in gas over 15 years and then at year 15 it dies and you need a new one then you didn’t save money, you lost money…lots of it.
So the math goes something like this: A 3-ton 17 SEER AC system will save you about $65 a year in cooling over a 14 SEER system. Given that the price difference between the two could be $1500, it could take you up to 23 years to see the break even point.
More Comfortable Air?
It's hard to think of air as being more comfortable but some of the higher SEER air conditioning systems actually make more comfortable air via a 2-stage system. What does that mean?
A normal average 14 SEER system will only have an on and off. But a 2-stage system will actually run more by using a different fan setting and compressor. This 2-stage system will make less hot spots in the home by providing a more even, regulated AC experience. This also cuts down on the humidity levels in the house.
So if you live in the following zip codes: 76244, 76137, 76148, 76179, 76131, 76262, 76148, 76053, 76054, call Texas Discount Air at 682-214-4822 or book an appointment online for your next AC system or Air Conditioning Repair.
If you want to schedule a visit with one of our technicians for specific feedback on the air conditioning seer rating of your AC system, call us for an appointment!