What Is a SEER Rating & Why Does It Matter?


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If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner or heat pump, you’ve probably stumbled across the term “SEER rating” during your research. But what is a SEER rating, and why does it matter for your home comfort? To answer these questions, our team put together a quick guide so you can make the most informed decision when it comes to your AC installation or replacement needs. Read on to discover everything you need to know about SEER ratings for your home cooling equipment! 

What Is a SEER Rating?

“SEER” stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, which is the ratio of cooling output that an air conditioning system can provide over the average cooling season, divided by the energy the system uses in watt-hours. This ratio is calculated throughout the cooling season using a constant indoor temperature and variety of outdoor temperatures ranging from 60 to 100 degrees or more, simulating the typical summer season.

It’s important to keep in mind that a SEER ratio is a maximum efficiency rating, similar to what one would see in the projected miles per gallon your car may get when you’re shopping for a fuel-efficient vehicle. While the SEER rating can give you a good idea of the maximum efficiency rating during optimal conditions, it could be lower depending on your specific circumstances and how often you schedule air conditioning maintenance.

Why Does SEER Rating Matter for Your Air Conditioner?

Not only are SEER ratings important for helping determine the energy efficiency of your system, but it’s also regulated by the U.S. Department of Energy. By law, air conditioning systems must hold a SEER rating of at least 13 in the northern U.S. and 14 in the southern and southwestern regions of the country. When shopping for an air conditioning system, it’s best to select a unit with a higher SEER rating. The higher your SEER rating, the greater the associated benefits, including:

  • Increased energy-efficiency
  • Improved indoor comfort
  • Reduced cooling expenses
  • Fewer greenhouse gas emissions
  • Greater control over indoor humidity

One thing to keep in mind while shopping for a new heat pump or air conditioning system is that the higher the SEER rating, the more expensive the cost of the unit will likely be. However, there are many available rebates and tax incentives that make affording these high-efficiency systems much more financially feasible.

What Is a Good SEER Rating?

The minimum required SEER rating for your home cooling system may differ depending on where you live. Typically, air conditioners with a SEER rating of 13 or higher are ideal for most families. Especially if you have an outdated unit with a SEER rating below 10, replacing it with an air conditioner with a higher rating will help you achieve significant savings on your cooling expenses.

Find High SEER Rating AC Systems at McCrea!

At McCrea Heating & Air Conditioning, our team is proud to offer Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland families the top-quality air conditioning systems they deserve. For more than 80 years, we have matched local families to the high SEER rating AC systems they need to enjoy improved energy efficiency and comfort. Allow our team to help you find the air conditioning system with the ideal SEER rating for your home by calling 301-304-8789 to schedule AC installation or replacement today!

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