What Is Seer And What Does It Mean For You?

SEER is an efficiency rating for your heating and cooling system. What miles per gallon are to your vehicle, so SEER is to your HVAC. A vehicle that gets 12 miles to the gallon is less efficient, and therefore more costly to run than a vehicle that gets 30 miles to the gallon. The same can be said for your heating and cooling systems and their SEER rating. Knowing your system’s rating can provide tremendous insight into how much energy (and money) you’re spending per month to cool your home.

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. If you own a relatively new HVAC system, chances are good that it has a SEER rating. The rating is based on residential air conditioner usage patterns in specific climates. Per government regulations, all HVAC units are required to show SEER ratings. If your HVAC system was purchased after 1992, it has a SEER rating of 10 or greater. If you have a new system (purchased after 2006) it has a federally mandated minimum SEER rating of 12.

So why would you want to purchase a heating and cooling system with a good SEER rating? The answer is simple. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy efficient your system is, and the more money you save in utility costs each season. If you’re in the market for a new system, consider your heating and cooling usage. If you live in a moderate climate year round that rarely requires the use of either heating or cooling, chances are good that you don’t need a very expensive and energy-efficient model. But if you live somewhere where the temperatures fluctuate greatly between seasons, a high SEER rating can mean serious savings in your pocket.

Consider it this way: if you live in New York City and take the subway to work each day, you don’t need to invest in an expensive, efficient car to get you from point A to point B. If you drive 20 miles to work on the highway each day, a more efficient car should be a priority for you.

If you are in an area where high HVAC usage is common, investing in an efficient system can actually pay for itself in several years. The higher the SEER rating, (more often than not) the more expensive the heating and cooling system will be. You can make up a majority of those costs in utility bills each season. Some HVAC systems end up paying for themselves multiple times over. The trick is understanding your climate, your personal usage and your current system’s SEER rating.

If you’re in the market for a new HVAC system now, or you’re simply planning for the future, consider investing in a high SEER rated model. Saving energy means saving money on your monthly utility bill, and it is also less likely to become quickly outdated by emerging technology. You can speak to a professional who can guide you further on the right system for your home.


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