When you invest in a new air conditioner, you want to know it’s going to be a solid investment. After all, HVAC systems account for about half of all the energy the average home uses, which means they can be pretty expensive to operate from month-to-month, let alone the initial purchase.
What homeowners may not realize though, is that paying more for an air conditioner now, can mean lower bills throughout the lifetime of the system–and that’s what an investment is all about, right? Paying you back.
What is it that makes an air conditioner more expensive? There are a number of factors, actually, but one of them is the system’s SEER rating–or rather, the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. Read on to learn more about what this is and why it may matter to you!
What the SEER Rating Is
As we stated above, SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and it is the measurement of how much cooling power there is compared to the energy that your system is consuming. An inefficient air conditioner or heat pump will generally have a lower SEER rating because it is consuming more energy to produce less cool air.
In contrast, a more efficient system will have a high SEER rating, because the cooling power will be high compared to the low amount of energy the system consumes.
There’s a Science to It!
Or rather, there’s a mathematical equation to it… cooling and heating are measured in BTUs, or British Thermal Units. A powerful cooling system produces a large amount of BTUs by lowering the temperature of your home considerably. The way your HVAC system’s SEER rating is calculated is by comparing the BTUs of cooling output with the energy consumed in Watts.
It’s important that you take this information into consideration when determining what type of air conditioner to have installed in your home. Yes, a higher SEER rating means your air conditioner is going to cost more to purchase and install than one with a low SEER rating. However, the higher the SEER, the lower your utility bills are going to be from month to month. There’s definitely a trade-off here!
Getting the Right Air Conditioner or Heat Pump for Your Home
SEER refers to the energy efficiency rating given to both traditional central air conditioners as well as heat pumps. Heat pumps function much like the former, using refrigerant to transfer heat from one area to another.
Because they use refrigerant, in the summer they operate much like a traditional air conditioner, and therefore SEER ratings apply to them as well (whereas a furnace’s efficiency is measured by AFUE- Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency).
If you’re unsure still about what to look for when purchasing your next air conditioner or heat pump, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. We can help you make an educated decision, and install a system that will bring you the best in performance and efficiency!