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Mike Smith Heating & Air Conditioning, LLC Blog

What Does the SEER Number Mean?


Some parts of the country are still dealing with the last of the winter snow. Here in Louisiana, though, summer is not far away. And if your air conditioner struggled to get through the heat last year, you might be considering getting a replacement so you won’t have to worry that the old one will break down just when you need it most, on the first sweltering day of the season. 

When you’re considering AC replacement options, you’ll notice that they all have SEER ratings. What does that mean? How will it affect your choice? The SEER rating requirements have changed recently, so you’re not the only one that could use some more information. Here is a breakdown of the facts for you.

What SEER Is

SEER is an acronym for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This method of measurement was created by a partnership between the US Department of Energy and the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute. It became the foundation for laws regulating the manufacture of air conditioners when President George H.W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act in 1992. The ratio is calculated by taking the amount of cooling provided by an air conditioner over the course of a year (measured in BTUs or British Thermal Units) and dividing it by the amount of energy used by that air conditioner in the same time (measured in watt-hours). A lower resulting number means that an air conditioner is less efficient, and a higher number indicates that the air conditioner is more efficient.

Why SEER Matters

Older air conditioners used more energy to create the same amount of cooling power, and newer air conditioners have become more energy-efficient. This means they’re better for the environment and better for your budget when it’s time to pay your utility bills. As of January 1st, 2023, SEER standards were raised to ensure that only high-efficiency air conditioners can be manufactured, sold, and installed. 

What SEER Rating You Should Look For

While the requirements differ based on the climate in various parts of the US, in our area, the SEER rating of all air conditioners must be at least 15. However, with each increase of one to the SEER number, the air conditioner will have an increased energy efficiency of up to seven percent, so the higher the SEER number, the lower your bills will be. Brand-new air conditioners are manufactured with SEER ratings up to 26, but those are so expensive that it would take a long time to recoup the initial investment in energy savings. It is more affordable to purchase one in the 15-22 range. 

One Final Fact

Many of the issues we see when air conditioners need repair have been caused by amateur installation. Once you have chosen your new, highly-efficient AC unit, it’s critical that you have professional AC installation in West Monroe, LA. Not only will that decrease the likelihood that you need repair, but it will also ensure that you actually get the high efficiency you deserve from your unit, and it will keep it under warranty.

Contact Mike Smith Heating & Air Conditioning, LLC. We provide “Professional grade service.”

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