What Does An Air Conditioner’s SEER Rating Actually Mean?

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The SEER rating is one of the most important aspects to consider when looking for an air conditioning system. It determines how efficient your HVAC system regarding its energy consumption and your home comfort. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) states that residential HVAC systems should have a SEER rating of 14 or higher. However, different states require different SEER ratings. Read on to find out more about this topic.

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What Does An Air Conditioner’s SEER Rating Mean?

The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio or SEER rating is the HVAC system’s cooling output compared to its annual total energy consumption. The range is usually from 13 to 21, with the cooling system’s efficiency increasing the higher the SEER rating it has.

Importance Of SEER Rating On An Air Conditioning Unit

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Before installing an air conditioner, you must know what its SEER rating is. This will let you know the benefits you should expect from your system. Some of these are:

  • Lower cooling costs: A highly efficient HVAC system means it consumes less energy while providing much-needed comfort. Therefore, you need to choose the right SEER rating to achieve low energy costs.
  • Better comfort: Professional HVAC technicians state that a fully functional air conditioner can cool a four-bedroom house by 10 degrees Fahrenheit in three hours. This can also depend on other factors, like the unit’s age and size. However, having the correct SEER rating can give you the comfort you need in your home.
  • Eco-friendlier cooling: An air conditioner that uses less power produces fewer greenhouse gases. Therefore, a cooling unit with a high SEER rating is eco-friendlier.
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What Is A Good SEER Rating?

An HVAC system that has a rating of 14 and above is good. However, you need to find the right rating that will work best for your home. A few factors to consider include the house’s size, the occupants’ cooling needs, and the preferred energy consumption rate. Keep in mind that the higher the SEER rating, the higher the efficiency of the unit. Consult with a professional HVAC technician to help you find the correct SEER rating for your home. After all, an HVAC system’s efficiency is dependent on the size of your home. For instance, a 14-SEER AC can cool a two-bedroom home efficiently, while you need one with a higher SEER rating if you have five or more bedrooms in the house.

How SEER Rating Is Calculated

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The air conditioner SEER rating is acquired by dividing the yearly total cooling output by the total electric energy input. The cooling output is taken through this calculation:

British Thermal Unit per hour (BTU/h) x number of cooling hours per day x days the AC worked in a year. For example:
5,000 BTU/h x 15 cooling hours/day x 240 days/year = 18,000,000 BTUs per year.

You might have a yearly total energy consumption of about 900,000Wh. Therefore, your SEER rating will be 18,000,000/900,000 = 20 SEER

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How To Find The Air Conditioner’s SEER Rating

The Department of Energy mandates HVAC manufacturers in the US to indicate the SEER rating on all units and the Energy Star label for qualified units. To find the SEER rating on your cooling system, look for a black and yellow sticker typically located at the condenser unit’s side. It is where the SEER rating should be clearly written.

You can also check the SEER rating on the air handler. If these two options are unavailable, find the manufacturer’s name, model number, and serial number. Use this information to search for the heating and cooling system online or contact the manufacturer.

If this is too much of a hassle, call a professional HVAC technician to help you. Otherwise, it should be easy to look for the SEER rating unless it was not labeled properly and clearly.

What Are Mismatched Cooling Systems?

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The air handler and the condenser should match to ensure optimum performance from your air conditioner. Therefore, manufacturers make air handlers that are compatible with specific condensers only. Installing matched pairs is a must so that they work as they should. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, as some might hire inexperienced contractors.

When the air conditioner size doesn’t match your home, you also have a mismatched system. It could be that you have a system that is too small or too large installed in your home. Having an oversized air conditioner means it will short cycle. It will lead to inefficient cooling where the cycle does not run long enough for the air conditioner to dehumidify and filter the air in your home. This will lead to discomfort and poor indoor air quality. Short cycling also consumes more energy because the system turns on and off repeatedly.

On the other hand, a system that is too small will run for long cycles that will cause your unit to strain. This will lead to faster wear and tear, frequent HVAC repairs, and premature air conditioner breakdown. The homeowner will also have to pay increased energy bills.

An HVAC system’s efficiency is significantly reduced when you have a mismatched system regardless if it has a high SEER rating. Therefore, make sure that you have an expert HVAC contractor to help you with the installation. This will avoid mismatched cooling systems in your home.

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Other Factors To Consider When Choosing A Cooling System

Aside from the SEER rating, other factors need to be considered to find the right cooling system for your home. One of these is the air conditioner size as having an oversized or undersized system uses more power to operate. Another is the price, as you need to stick to your set budget. It would help if you also considered the noise the system emits as less efficient air conditioners can be too noisy due to overworking. Lastly, check the unit’s warranty. This will help you get a replacement or repair when your system doesn’t work as expected.



Having a system that has a good SEER rating means it is highly efficient so that you can enjoy low energy costs. An ENERGY STAR-certified air conditioner can also help cut your energy bills further and making your home more eco-friendly. Contact a professional HVAC contractor for all your heating and cooling needs and concerns. They can help you find the best HVAC system for your home and maintain it.

Call Lawes Company For All Of Your HVAC Requirements

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Lawes Company offers high-quality HVAC services in Monmouth and Ocean County, New Jersey, including air conditioner repairs, furnace installations, boiler maintenance, and more. Rest assured, we have highly skilled and professionally certified technicians for all your heating and cooling needs. All our trained techs have the necessary knowledge and experience to provide accurate services on any HVAC make and model.

Our company offers highly competitive HVAC service rates. We can help improve your home’s comfort, energy efficiency, and indoor air quality with our maintenance services. We can also find the most suitable HVAC repair and replacement solutions that are within your budget. Our works come with guarantees because your satisfaction is important to us. Book a service appointment today and call Lawes Company. We offer free, in-home estimates.

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