If you’re in the market for a new Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) unit, you’re going to come across the term SEER rating. The higher the rating, the more energy-efficient the unit is.
When people start reading about SEER ratings, they may wonder how much more efficient is a 16 SEER vs 14 SEER? While there can be a noticeable difference, it’s important to understand how SEER ratings work overall first.
What is a SEER rating?
In North America, the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is a term that was created by the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) to determine the efficiency of air conditioners. Europe uses a similar system called the European Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (ESEER).
The formal SEER calculation is determined by taking the total cooling capacity during normal periods of operation (not to exceed 12 months) and dividing it by the total electric energy input during the same period.
What is a good SEER rating?
Currently, most units have a SEER rating between 13-21. To get ENERGY STAR® qualified, the unit needs to have a rating of at least 15. Although the SEER number is essential, it’s not a good idea to focus just on the rating. The efficiency of air conditioners depends on your home’s size, the condition of your ducts, where you live, and more. It would be difficult to determine what’s the best unit for your home, so speak to a professional to get their expert opinion.
How much more efficient is a 16 SEER vs 14 SEER?
Technically speaking, a unit with a 16 SEER rating is 14% more efficient than a 14 SEER unit. How so? If you take 16 and divide it by 14, you get 1.14 which equals 14% more efficiency. You would see that difference in your monthly bills, but keep in mind that there may be other factors that affect how much you’re paying.
Is it worth upgrading to a higher SEER unit?
It depends, if your current unit has a low SEER rating, a new model with a higher SEER number will likely lower your monthly energy bills. That said, if you’re expecting a drastic decrease, that may not be realistic as it’ll take many years before you recoup your costs.
For homeowners concerned about how much they’re spending on their monthly energy bills, you may need to do an energy audit on your home. While your HVAC plays a significant role, you also need to look at things such as your appliances, windows, and even your front door.
How much will a high SEER unit save me each month?
Generally speaking, a higher SEER unit will save you money on your monthly energy bills compared to a unit with a low SEER number. That means if your current air conditioner has a rating of 5, and you’re going to one that’s rated 17, the savings may pay for the unit after a certain period of time.
Remember, you should be choosing an air conditioner or furnace that best suits your space, not one with the highest SEER number. If you select a unit based on SEER number or price alone, it may not be working at maximum efficiency in your home.
It is worth mentioning that higher SEER units cost more than lower ones. The reason for this is that higher rated units typically have the newest technology.
Other factors to consider when choosing a new HVAC system
Since installing a new air conditioner is not a do-it-yourself project, you need to find a contractor that you’re comfortable with. Book a free, no-obligation consultation now and have the Home Install Experts™ look at your project. Plus, Sam’s Club Members get a 10% discount off Fair Market Value Estimate.*
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