SEER RATING: IS HIGHER ALWAYS BETTER?
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is the standard for measuring air conditioning efficiency. In the air conditioning industry, the higher the SEER, the better the efficiency, and the lower your energy bills will be. Although higher-efficiency (SEER) systems are more expensive to buy, they cost significantly less to run in the long run.
As a general guideline, if you plan to stay in the property where you will install the system for less than five years, a 14 or 15 SEER system may be the best option from a return-on-investment perspective. If you plan to remain in the property for five to ten years, a 16 or 18 SEER system may be the best choice.
If you plan to stay in the home where you will install the system for more than ten years, you should consider equipment efficiencies as high as 25 SEER, depending on your purchasing potential and budget.
As of January 2015, it has been a federal mandate that equipment have a minimum efficiency of 14 SEER. However, the market offers a variety of equipment efficiencies, with some going as high as 25 SEER. It’s crucial to consider these options carefully before making a final decision. Use the SEER rating as a starting point, but also compare the features of the higher SEER systems to ensure maximum energy efficiency.
High SEER = More Features and Benefits (Mostly)
As the SEER ratings increase, more popular features for comfort also become available, including:
- Quieter operation
- Improved humidity control
- Less temperature variation throughout your home
- Superior air filtration
- Two-stage cooling and heating
- True variable speed cooling
- Mobile apps connectivity for monitoring, adjusting, and diagnosing
Higher SEER ratings might mean more comfort features, but it shouldn’t be the only consideration. Ideally, you’ll be looking for a balance between cost, expected length of use, SEER, and other factors unique to your situation.