SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It’s a number (between 8-23) that describes how efficient an air-conditioning system works. A higher SEER means higher efficiency and lower energy bills.
SEER is calculated by dividing the amount of cooling supplied by the air conditioner or heat pump (Btu’s per hour) by the power (watts) used by the cooling equipment under a specific set of seasonal conditions.
These ratings are determined in a laboratory where the exact set of indoor and outdoor conditions-specified by the US Department of Energy-are guaranteed to exist. Because each piece of cooling equipment is evaluated using the exact same conditions, the rating can be used in comparing the performance of equipment from different manufacturers. Higher ratings can be achieved by manufacturers who use newer or better technology in their equipment.
That’s why these ratings have a big influence on initial equipment costs and also why SEER has become an important part of manufacturers and HVAC marketing programs.
In the United States, all air conditioners sold on or after January 1, 2006 are required to have a SEER rating of at least 13. Window air-conditioners that are mounted in windows are not affected by this law.
The government is also offering a tax credit until December 31st, 2010 on 15 seer and above air conditioning and heat pump systems. Get up to $1500 tax credit explains all of the requirements to qualify for the federal tax rebate.
It is possible to see significant savings in cooling costs by upgrading to a more efficient air conditioner, For example, an upgrade from a rating of nine (older unit) to 13 (base seer rating now) could translate into almost a third less energy used per season. This can potentially result in hundreds of dollars of savings per year, to the point that a new unit could even pay for itself in savings.
If you are considering replacing your air conditioning system to a high efficiency system you should know that the SEER rating alone will not guarantee your energy savings. You should know the FACTS on SEER ratings. There are a lot of other factors that come into play when trying to achieve the maximum amount of savings from your new equipment.
Check these F.A.C. T. S.
F.- Field Adjustments. To your newly installed equipment.
A.– Air Flow. Without proper airflow, the desired temperature change across the evaporator will not occur. Make sure your ductwork is sized correctly for your new system
C. Charge.- As in refrigerant charge. Most manufacturers now a days recommend charging your new system by the sub cooling method. If your new system is undercharged by 20% it can knock your new systems SEER rating down up to 1 full point, so you paid for the 14 seer but you are only getting the 13 SEER.
T.– Tight ducts. As discussed in Don’t waste your AC in your attic. Duct leakage can have a SERIOUS negative impact on your overall SEER rating.