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What is SEER?

by | May 9, 2017 | Air Conditioning

Technician teaching a HVAC customer about SEER in Murfreesboro, TN

When it comes to your air conditioner, a common term used in the HVAC business is SEER. But what exactly is SEER?

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It’s a rating system of the air conditioner’s cooling capacity to power input, i.e., it’s the ratio of the amount of cooling produced (in BTUs) divided by the amount of electricity (in watts) used. The higher the rating, the greater the air conditioner’s efficiency.

The U.S. EPA requires residential air conditioner systems manufactured after January 1, 2015, to have a minimum rating of 14. You can usually find your system’s SEER rating on the yellow-and-black EnergyGuide sticker on the outside of your unit.

Saving Money by Upgrading

If your system is ten to 15 years old but continues keeping you cool in the summer, you might still want to consider investing in a newer unit. By upgrading to a modern, more efficient model, depending on your current unit’s SEER, you could save quite a bit of money annually on your cooling bill. To illustrate, say your current system has a rating of 9. If you upgraded to an air conditioner with a 14, which is the lowest efficiency available, your power consumption would be reduced by 28 percent.

The Department of Energy has accessible online energy-efficiency calculators you can find to help you predict the energy costs you’ll save with different units carrying various SEER ratings. If you’d like a more precise analysis, call The Tedder Company, and we’d be happy to send one of our knowledgeable technicians out to go over the possible savings with you.

How to Decide Which SEER is for You

To carry the Energy Star® label, an air conditioner must be in the top 25 percent of efficient models and have a minimum rating of 14. Automatically purchasing an air conditioner with a higher rating, however, isn’t always the go-to answer. The SEER rating represents the potential efficiency of the unit under perfect conditions. Much of the system’s efficiency depends on the right sizing of the unit for your home, along with correct installation and an evaluation of other factors as well. For example, your duct work and windows may have leaks, thus directly affecting your energy savings.

Keep in mind that your air conditioner doesn’t operate within a vacuum. It’s directly tied to your furnace or heating system. Depending on what equipment you presently have and its age, this definitely factors into your air conditioner’s rating. Even though your proposed new unit has an 18 SEER, once married to your current furnace, the rating may decrease to a 15 or 16.

What you need to aim for is the right-sized equipment operating at its optimal ratings within varying conditions for the best savings and comfort for you. The Tedder Company has specialist technicians who calculate these various factors when proposing the optimal system for your home, comfort, and budget. Give us a call at 615-890-4515 or request service online, and we’d be happy to help you with any of your air conditioner needs.


The Tedder Company is proud to offer services to Antioch, Brentwood, Forest Hills, Franklin, La Vergne, Lebanon, Murfreesboro, Nolensville, Shelbyville, Smyrna, Woodbury and the Surrounding Communities. Call us at (615) 890-4515 or request service online today!

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