What’s a Good SEER Rating?

What’s a SEER Rating?

Any local air conditioning repair service will be able to tell you all about SEER ratings. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and essentially gauges an air conditioner’s efficiency. This number was defined by the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute in 2008 and is calculated by dividing the cooling output during a typical cooing-season by the energy input during the same period. In order to make your own calculation for annual cooling output cost, plug in your unit’s BTU and usage numbers into this example from EnergyStar.

Here’s another example for quick reference: (50,000 BTU/h) × (1120 h/year) × ($0.10/kWh) ÷ (13 BTU/Wh) ÷ (1000 W/kW) = $430/year

Unit Size Hours Used Per Year Phoenix Energy Cost SEER Rating Killowatts/Watts Conversion Total Annual Cost
50,000 BTU/h 1,120 Hours per year Appx. $.10/kWh 13 BTU/Wh 1000 $430

SEER ratings vary depending on the region or “zone”, and the higher the number, the more efficient its output. The range only runs from 13 to 25, with 14 as the recommended efficiency standard in Arizona. Any lower number indicates an outdated system that needs to replaced as soon as possible, especially for high-use situations.

The Department of Energy has established a rating of 13 as the minimum standard for efficiency across the United States. This is important when deciding whether to repair or upgrade an older system since ones built before 1992 have a too-low rating of 7-10. Keep in mind that an increase in, say, a SEER rating of 11 uses the same amount of electricity as a 10 SEER system, it just provides one more watt hour of cooling.

How to find your air conditioner unit’s SEER Rating

Not sure how energy-smart your air conditioner is? Take a peek at the unit’s manufacturing label (by the serial and model number). If the first four digits should read something like 14AC, then 14 would be your official SEER rating. Newer AC units have a yellow Energy Guide sticker that clearly displays the energy rating.

Is my unit up to standard?

Air conditioners in Arizona do a lot of work, which is why it’s extremely important to have a system that doesn’t break the bank every summer. Once you’ve located your air conditioner’s SEER rating, you can determine whether you could on save monthly utility costs by purchasing a more efficient unit. However, bear in mind the cost of installation, the frequency of use, and how long you expect to live in your current home.

When is Arizona’s Cooling Season?

In terms of SEER ratings and climate control, a cooling season in Arizona starts roughly in May and ends roughly in October. The shoulder seasons of Spring and Fall still require indoor cooling but are not used as the standard for the SEER rating system. Typically, the cooling season is around 1,000 hours per year.

Read on to find out how long an HVAC system typically lasts!