When it comes to staying comfortable in the summer, few things are as important as having a good air conditioner. But not all air conditioners are created equal. Some air conditioners are more energy-efficient than others, and choosing an energy-efficient air conditioner can save you a lot of money on your energy bills. An energy-efficient air conditioner can save you money in two ways. First, it can help you use less energy to cool your home, spending less money on your energy bills. Second, an energy-efficient air conditioner may qualify for a tax credit, which can lower your overall cost of ownership.
If you’re in the market for a new air conditioner, be sure to choose one that is energy efficient. To determine how efficient a unit is, you can look for the bright yellow sticker that outlines the SEER rating. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio will give a good idea of how efficient a unit is and how much you can expect to spend on the seasonal operation. Let’s take a closer look at the SEER rating.
What are SEER ratings?
A SEER rating, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, is a measure of how efficiently an air conditioner converts electricity into cooling power. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the air conditioner. The U.S. Department of Energy requires that all units have a minimum SEER rating to be sold in the United States. Since 2006 AC units must have a minimum SEER rating of 13. Older air conditioners may have a SEER rating of 10 or lower.
One way to think of the SEER rating is in terms of dollars. For every $1 you spend on electricity to power your air conditioner, the SEER rating will tell you how many dollars of cooling power you’ll get in return. So, for example, if you have an air conditioner with a SEER rating of 10, you can expect to get $10 of cooling power for every $1 you spend on electricity.
What’s a good SEER rating?
As discussed, the higher the SEER rating, the more money you will save in the long run. However, many people don’t want to spend the money that a higher-rated unit might require. So, what is a good SEER rating? The answer to this question is dependent upon many factors, and what might be a good rating for a household might not be sufficient for another. Things like the location of the home, the size of the home, and the climate where the home is located all impact AC energy efficiency. The baseline score for newer AC units is a 13. Anything higher than that means additional savings. However, while a new air conditioner with a SEER rating of 13 might be great for a household in Virginia, a home in Arizona might require a higher rated unit due to the amount of use during the summer.
Are higher SEER ratings worth the cost?
On average, a household in the United States pays around $2000 a year for energy. If you are looking to reduce your energy costs, a higher SEER-rated unit might be worth the investment. However, as discussed, there are several factors that play into your energy usage and seasonal AC requirements. Units with the highest SEER rating are some of the most energy-efficient ACs on the market. You will also pay a premium price because of the technology and innovation behind these air conditioning units. Once installed, however, you would notice an immediate impact on your monthly energy bills. Over time, the equipment will pay for itself in energy savings.
When weighing the cost and the value of a higher-rated unit, you really need to examine your situation and the needs of your household. If your energy bills are through the roof during the summer and you can afford a higher-rated unit, it might be worth the investment. However, if you aren’t able to afford the upfront cost of a more efficient unit, equipment with a SEER rating of 13 would still be a big improvement over an older unit with a score of 10 or lower.
When choosing an air conditioner, it is important to consult with an HVAC technician to find the right unit for your home.