Air Conditioner SEER Ratings Explained
There’s often confusion about air conditioner SEER ratings and many homeowners have questions about what the rating is, how it’s regulated and its relationship to price when shopping for a new cooling system.
What is an Air Conditioner SEER Rating?
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating measures how efficient an air conditioner is by calculating the total cooling output during a typical season and dividing it by the total electric energy input during the same period. In other words, a higher SEER equates to a more energy efficient air conditioner.
Air Conditioner SEER Rating Regulation
As of 2006, new residential standards were implemented requiring all central air conditioners to be manufactured with at least a 13 SEER; however, there are air conditioners available with even higher SEER ratings.
To compare efficiency across multiple different air conditioners, systems come with an EnerGuide label.
These official (but voluntary) labels show how the featured model compares to other in terms of energy efficiency.
The EnerGuide label can help homeowners visualize the energy efficiency of different air conditioner systems quickly and effectively.
Air Conditioner SEER Rating and Price
Cooling systems with a higher rating will usually be a bit more expensive than systems with a lower rating. However, air conditioners with a high SEER rating require less energy to operate and therefore can cut down on monthly energy bills. With hydro prices continuing to climb, you could see significant savings over the lifetime of the system.