Energy efficiency is one of the most important factors when replacing or installing a new air conditioner or heat pump. The energy efficiency of any cooling unit is expressed in its SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating. This is one important detail you should focus on when choosing your new unit. An AC with a higher SEER rating will save you money in the long run by lowering your electricity bills, but it will also have a higher upfront cost. Today we’ll discuss what SEER ratings mean and how you can use them to estimate long-term energy savings. This can make it easier to decide what AC is best for your home and your budget.
What Are SEER Ratings?
SEER ratings are an expression of an air conditioner or heat pump’s total cooling output per hour compared to how many watt-hours of electricity it consumes. The electricity consumption is the important factor here, as all units of the same size will have the same cooling output. This means they will remove the same number of BTUs of heat from a building per hour. The difference is that units with a higher SEER rating will always use less electricity to remove heat and cool a building.
How Much Can You Save with a Higher SEER AC Unit?
The US Department of Energy updated the minimum energy standards for ACs and heat pumps at the start of 2023. The previous standard in Missouri and the rest of the southern U.S. was 14 SEER. All new units must now be rated at 15 SEER or higher. As SEER ratings increase, the energy efficiency of the unit also increases by approximately 7%. In other words, a 15 SEER unit will use 7% less energy than a 14 SEER unit.
The US Department of Energy also introduced the more accurate SEER2 rating system in 2023. SEER2 ratings are approximately 4.5% lower than SEER.
When deciding what SEER rating is best for your new AC or heat pump, you should always compare the cost of higher-rated units with how much money they can save you over time. In Blue Springs, a 3-ton 15 SEER (14.3 SEER2) unit will typically use around $375 worth of electricity per year. Based on this, you can then estimate how much money you could save if you opted for a higher SEER unit.
For instance, a 20 SEER (19.1 SEER2) AC would use around 35% less energy. This means you would see a reduction in your yearly air conditioning costs by more than $100 a year. You can then use this calculation to determine whether the amount of money the unit could save you would offset the higher upfront cost of the 20 SEER unit.
Valley Mechanical LLC is your local AC installation expert. We offer a range of units to suit every home and any budget. Our cooling technicians also specialize in AC maintenance and repairs, as well as all types of heating services and indoor air quality services. Give us a call today to schedule a service call in the Blue Springs area or to learn more about your options for AC installation or replacement.