What Exactly is a SEER Rating? (HVAC)

Homeowners might use the lingo to describe how well an HVAC system works. “The air the AC blows is ice cold” or “that furnace is kicking out some warm air” are common “measurements” of how well a system is performing. 

However, the HVAC industry uses technical terms and calculations to gauge just how well an air conditioner or furnace is working. SEER ratings describe the efficiency of cooling systems, and AFUE ratings pertain to furnaces, boilers, and other types of systems that burn fuel, oil, gas, or propane.

SEER is an acronym that stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. Heat pumps and air conditioners all have this rating. Dividing a system’s cooling output by the electric energy it uses determines the rating.

What Different SEER Ratings Mean

The latest air conditioners typically have SEER ratings that range from 13 to 26. Those with a high SEER rating require less energy to run than systems with low ratings. If your current AC unit is several years old, it might have a rating of eight or nine, meaning it uses a lot more energy than more recently manufactured and more efficient units.

An old air conditioner or heat pump with a very low SEER rating means that you are spending a lot more money to stay comfortable in your home than you would if you had a more efficient unit. It also could mean that you’ll need to google “HVAC repair near me” sooner than you might expect.

Why a High SEER Rating Is Important

Basically, a higher rating means more comfort for your home with less energy. The SEER rating of the cooling component of your HVAC system is even more important for those who live in areas with warm seasons. That includes Portsmouth, VA, summers!

Usually, HVAC systems with higher ratings have blowers and compressors that are variable in speed, and they both help keep AC units operating longer in a cycle before shutting off. Units with lower SEER ratings typically have only one compressor and one blower. They shut off frequently and deliver uneven cooling and humidity into a home.

When you exchange a unit with a low SEER rating for one with a high one, you’ll likely notice a big difference in your energy bills since they may be quite a bit lower than you’re used to seeing. Another way you may save money with a higher SEER rating is through manufacturers and even the government. Rebates and incentives are often available for purchasing energy-efficient units and appliances.

Using energy-efficient appliances and systems in your home means that you are doing your part to help protect the environment. These efficient additions limit your carbon footprint and shrink the negative environmental impact your home carries.

What Influences SEER Ratings and HVAC Efficiency?

Several factors play a role in determining how efficient a system, unit, or appliance in the home is (or not). Some of these include:

  • HVAC system size in relation to the size of your home
  • Preventive maintenance done on the system
  • Thermostat settings
  • Climate of the region
  • Age of the unit

While other factors come into play when determining efficiency, it’s important to remember that an air conditioner or heat pump will NOT maintain the SEER rating it has when you first purchase it due to normal wear and tear. The components most likely to get worn down over time are bearings, compressors, belts, and motors. Unfortunately, these are also the most critical components, which is why maintenance is so vital. 

Even with diligent care, proactive maintenance, and frequent attention, all systems, appliances, machines, and units in a home gradually become less efficient and more expensive to run. Keep this in mind, even if your air conditioner appears to be working just fine.

To keep your HVAC system in its best running condition for its age, always make sure that you schedule regular maintenance tune-ups once or twice per year. It will prolong the life of your unit. A technician will inspect the components of your system, clean appropriate mechanisms, and check for minor issues that may need repair that you aren’t aware of.

HVAC Services in Portsmouth, VA

If you’re not sure what the SEER rating is for your air conditioner, contact our expert technicians to evaluate its efficiency. We can also advise you on how to improve your unit’s efficiency, how often you should perform regular maintenance on it, and how to choose a new system for your home. 

Energy Pro Heating & Cooling serves clients in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Suffolk, and Portsmouth, VA. Contact us today.

October 5th, 2021 | Heating and Cooling