SEER Ratings and What They Mean
SEER rating are the method used to describe the efficiency of a particular equipment system. SEER stands for “Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio”. The systems purchased today typically range from 13.00 SEER to 21.00 SEER. If you have a home and the current system is 10-15 years old, you may have a system that ranges from 6.0 SEER to 10.00 SEER. Of course at the time it was installed, 10.00 SEER was considered “High Efficiency”. Today, with all the focus on conservation and energy savings, that “High Efficiency 10.00 SEER” from 10-15 years ago is growing obsolete.
If you would have spent $100 to operate an 8.00 SEER system, by installing a 14.00 SEER system, your operating costs would drop to $57.00 as opposed to the $100 spent operating the lower efficiency system. These are estimates only, and designed to show that with the higher the SEER rating, the lower the operating costs.
If you have a 6.0 SEER, and you installed a new 13.00 SEER or Higher system, you would cut your power consumption in half (in regard to your AC System). Considering that in many cases the central air system represents the largest draw on power in your home, any improvement is a wise decision.
The systems today are very advanced as you move up in the efficiency range. They cost a bit more at initial purchase, but when you calculate the energy savings-vs-dollars spent they pay for themselves fairly quickly.
Lets look at an example:
Current system is 6.0 SEER and power bill runs $150.00 per month.
A 10.00 SEER system is $1500.00 and your power bill may be $125.00 per month.
Upgrade to a 14.00 SEER system for an additional $800.00 and your power bill drops to $90.00 per month.
The price between the 10.00 SEER and the 14.00 SEER is $800.00. The monthly savings equate to $35.00 per month (14.00 SEER -vs- 10.00 SEER). Take the $800.00 difference and divide that by the $35.00 savings and you would pay off the improved system through energy savings in 22.86 months. Less than 2 years.
No matter what, you were going to replace the system with at least a 10.00 SEER system.
Improved power bill, increased value of home, and your system won’t be obsolete in 2 years. Wise decision. Bear in mind, the ratio of savings varies from household to household as people live differently in each case. The example given above is strictly as an example and there is no guarantee that you will see that exact example in your home.
Cooling efficiency is measured in SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) and heat pump heating in HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor).
Ratings works like gas mileage on your car. The higher the SEER or HSPF number, the higher the efficiency and the greater the energy savings.* For instance, if your old unit is 10 to 15 years old, the efficiency rating could be a wasteful 6 SEER.
* Savings percentages based on national averages; may vary according to efficiency of current unit and temperature zone location.
Some other Energy Saving Tips:
- Seal the windows in your home around the frames
- Consider dual pane insulated windows when you opt to replace your current windows
- Improve your insulation factors in your attic to R-30
- Seal the current duct system in your home with tape, fab and sealants (mastick)
- Improve the style of registers you currently have for better “Throw”
- Make sure your cold air return is large enough for the system ;
- Install ceiling fans throughout your home
- Keep your filter cleaned and changed monthly
- Keep your unit serviced. Maintenance plans with your local air conditioning contractor will do wonders for your system. At least twice per year.
These are just a few ideas that are proven to work. Common sense should prevail in regard to maintaining your unit. A maintenance plan generally cost less than $200.00 per year all across the country and is a wise decision. It could mean the difference between your unit lasting only 8 years or lasting 20 years. It is like changing the oil in your car.