Many HVAC system owners aren’t familiar with what a SEER rating is or why it’s important. The SEER rating of your air conditioning (AC) system can affect not only your utility costs, but also your AC system’s cooling efficiency. Discover why you need to know about SEER, why knowing your SEER rating is important, and how this rating may affect your home.

Ratings to Gauge Your AC Cooling Efficiency

SEER, Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, is a system used to gauge how well your air conditioner is cooling your home compared to other AC units on the market. Typically, the higher the rating, the higher the initial cost of the unit will be. When you’re considering purchasing a new HVAC system, keeping in mind your budget and the long-term benefits of the system may help you figure out what type of system you’re willing to purchase.

HVAC systems in the U.S. must reach a minimum level 13 rating, but systems can reach up to 28. Anything greater than the 16 marker is a high-efficiency system, while those with a 20 or greater are significant high-efficiency systems. Check out Energy Star’s online calculator to compare ratings among systems. If you’d like to seek a professional’s help, HVAC services professionals can help you understand your SEER rating.

Ratings to Compare Energy Usage

The SEER rating of your HVAC system can help you figure out how much energy your system will likely use by comparing it to other available systems on the market. For example, if you buy a system with a lower SEER rating to save money upfront, you’ll end up spending more in utilities than someone who spends more money on their HVAC system upfront. Finding the balance between budget and long-term cost is vital when looking at a new HVAC system.

Before investing in a new system, take into account factors such as house size and age. If you have a smaller house, a higher-rated HVAC system may not make much difference compared to a large house that requires more energy to cool.

Maximizing Your SEER-Rated System

Image via Flickr by sylvar

While you may have purchased a top-of-the-line, high SEER-rated HVAC system, not taking care of it will negate some of the benefits. Regularly change your air filter to keep your system running at more efficient levels and to reduce the amount of dirt and allergens in your air.

A programmable thermostat set to cool your home only when you’re planning on being there will also keep your energy levels down. The more efficient your system operates, the faster the system will cool your house by the time you get home. Sealing the ducts in your home can also improve the efficiency of your HVAC unit by eliminating air leaks, leading to less energy draw to regulate the temperatures inside your home.

Understanding some of the key considerations presented above can help you select the HVAC system you need for your home with confidence. And by maximizing your system’s SEER rating, you’ll not only improve the system’s energy efficiency, but also save money on your energy bill.