Importance of SEER

As a Clearwater AC Repair company, we often get asked to explain a SEER rating.  SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and is defined by the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute.  For a homeowner looking to invest in a new system, the SEER rating of an air conditioning system would be comparable to the Miles Per Gallon to rate a vehicle.  A vehicle that gets 23 MPG would be considered much more efficient than a vehicle that only gets 13 MPG.

Simply put, the higher the SEER rating, the more energy efficient the equipment is and the less it will cost to operate.  All residential air conditioners sold in the United States must have a minimum SEER rating of 13 and Energy Star qualified systems must have a SEER rating of at least 14.   SEER ratings of up to 20 are available and are achieved by the development of newer and better technology, resulting in a higher initial investment for the homeowner but will significantly lower monthly heating and cooling expenses.

The SEER rating is calculated by dividing the Btu’s per hour (the amount of cooling supplied by the air conditioner) by the watts (or the power) used by the unit under a set of specific seasonal guidelines.  This calculation is performed in a laboratory under the exact environmental conditions required by the US Department of Energy which allows for a rating that can be used to measure equipment efficiency from different manufacturers.

It is important to remember that only the performance of the evaporator equipment and condenser are rated using the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio.  However, the installation of a complete heating and cooling system requires many additional procedures, parts, and materials.  There are many factors that can affect a system’s operational SEER rating.  The following field mistakes can cause equipment to operate lower than its rated SEER:

  • improperly sized or designed duct system
  • duct system that is not sealed
  • improperly sized copper tubing
  • incorrect refrigerant pressures
  • improperly matched air handler and condenser

It is important to choose a reputable Clearwater air conditioning company that will design a system for your needs and install the system according to the manufacturer standards to ensure proper SEER rating and proper air flow.  A contractor should be able to provide you with an ARI Certificate from the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute that will confirm the SEER rating of a specific air handler model installed with a specific condenser model.

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