What Air Conditioner Ratings to Look For

What A/C Ratings to Look ForWhen you’re having to shift through the different choices for a new HVAC system, you may find yourself wishing someone would just make it all simple for you. Of course, talking to a well-informed HVAC contractor can help. Having a basic understanding of air conditioner ratings can also assist you in sorting out which system will be best for your needs.

The main ratings to look at when considering a purchase are the EER and SEER ratings.

  • EER. This stands for the Energy Efficiency Ratio. It measures how much energy is used to achieve a certain amount of cooling. Based on a 95-degree outside temperature, the EER rates how much energy the air conditioner needs to use to bring a home to 80 degrees inside. If the A/C uses less energy, it gets a higher rating.
  • SEER. This stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It’s based on the EER, but it takes “real world” conditions into account. A cooling season usually starts at a cooler temperature, gets gradually hotter, then slowly gets cooler again. To account for this, the SEER looks at energy usage when the outside temperature ranges from 65 degrees to 104 degrees. This gives a more accurate picture of energy use throughout the cooling season.

In practical terms, a higher SEER and EER mean you’ll save more money on energy costs, but you’ll also typically pay more upfront for the air conditioning system. The key is to find the balance between enough energy efficiency at a cost you’re comfortable with.

The Department of Energy has set standards for new air conditioning systems at 13 SEER for northern areas, and 14 SEER for southern and southwestern areas. This means you’ll get a certain amount of energy efficiency no matter what you choose. However, homeowners in cooler areas may find that the energy savings aren’t sufficient to cover the additional expense. If in doubt, talk to your HVAC contractor about the best SEER rating for your situation.

For more information about air conditioner ratings or any other HVAC-related questions in the Middletown area, contact C.R. Wolfe Heating & Air Conditioning.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Middletown, New York about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about A/C ratings and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 845-367-4482.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “OpenClipart-Vectors/Pixabay”

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