Why Does the SEER Rating in My Air Conditioner Matter?

There’s a lot of technical specifications on your air conditioner to denote how well it does its job. But the one laymen should pay the most attention to is the SEER rating, which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It’s a handy number designed to tell you how efficient your system is, and conversely, how much it saves you money when doing its job. That is a huge consideration here in Portland, OR, where hot days demand an efficient system. Why does the SEER rating matter? Here’s a quick breakdown of how it works.

What the Number Means

The number is really just a ratio. It measures the amount of energy you get out of the system (expressed in BTUs or British Thermal Units) against the energy you put into the system (expressed in watt-hours). For instance, if your SEER rating is 11, it means the system gets 11 BTUs worth of cooling power for every watt-hour of energy it consumes.

Why Is That Important?

It’s important because the energy the system consumes is the energy you pay for in your monthly bills. So you want a SEER rating that is as high as possible, giving you the most bang for your buck. (Keep in mind that smaller units may be more efficient than larger ones, so don’t expect a higher SEER rating just because you have a more powerful air conditioner.) In the U.S., all air conditioners need to have a SEER rating of at least 13, though you can find units with a higher rating by looking for the EnergyStar Sticker (for units that have a SEER rating for 14 or higher).

You want your air conditioner to be as effective as possible. When installing a new one, look for the highest SEER rating you cans, then call the experts at Clean Air Act to help!

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