SEER Ratings: A Guide

Published On: October 19, 20190 Comments on SEER Ratings: A GuideTags: , , Last Updated: February 12, 20242.6 min read

In case you were wondering, SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. While it’s easier to let you in on what the acronym means, it’s a bit more convoluted to define how that SEER rating will affect you.

Seer ratings guide

We’ll take a look at how it’s calculated and why it’s important, but the best SEER rating may vary depending on your unique heating and cooling needs.

How is the SEER Calculated? 

The SEER is the ratio of cooling output your HVAC air conditioner puts out over a a cooling season, divided by the energy in Watt-Hours. You can calculate a SEER rating by using a constant indoor temperature, and a variety of outdoor temperature. The highest possible, most energy efficient SEER rating is 22 under optimal conditions.



What About the Minimum Requirement? 

The Department of Energy weighed in on the minimum SEER requirements in 2015. So, they ruled that the minimum for the North is 13 (which is also the lowest calculation for the SEER rating that can be sold), while the minimum for the South (Texas, Arizona, etc) is 14 due to the longer cooling season.

Seer ratings guide - air conditioner

You might have an older A/C units that has SEER rating of 8. If your current system has an 8 or 9, that’s one reason you might consider upgrading your system to something newer and more functional. Even the lowest energy-efficiency model will offer a better experience than what you currently have, particularly if you’ve been sweltering through the summer months in the South.

Why is the SEER Rating Important?

The SEER Rating is important because it can help you determine which HVAC air conditioning solution is the most energy efficient model. Based on that rating, you can calculate your energy cost as well as your savings depending on the HVAC air conditioning solution you select.

It’s still important to look at the whole picture. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the unit should be, but that’s under optimal conditions. Your experience may be different and you may need to take other factors into account. Beyond just looking at the SEER Rating and making a snap decision, take a look at:

  • Size: Is it big enough to offer the energy efficient cooling that you need?
  • Noise: There are ways to reduce the noise of an HVAC unit even after it’s installed (noise blanket, barrier, and maintenance), but it’s still a factor to look at when you’re picking the right HVAC unit for you.
  • Infrastructure: The energy efficiency of your HVAC system will also depend on the current ductwork and how energy efficient your home is.
  • Comfort levels: A high-quality thermostat can help you achieve the comfort levels you need in your home.

Take into consideration all these important factors into account when you select the best HVAC system to purchase for your home. If you’ll actually need to remodel your whole house to see the energy savings, it might not be the huge cost-savings bonanza that you imagined, but you’ll be making positive changes for the future.


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