When browsing the market for a new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) unit, SEER rating is one of the most important factors to consider. A higher SEER rating means the unit is more efficient. Many individuals find themselves choosing between a 16 SEER and 14 SEER unit as they narrow down their options, so which one is better?
Before we answer that question, let’s take a closer look at how SEER ratings are calculated.
What are SEER ratings?
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The term was coined by the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) for measuring HVAC unit efficiency in North America. European nations use ESEER or European Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio.
SEER ratings are calculated by dividing the total cooling output during normal periods of operation (ie., during periods of hot weather) by total electric energy input during that period.
What is considered a good SEER rating?
Most modern HVAC units have a SEER rating between 13 and 21. Units must have a SEER rating of at least 15 to qualify for the EPA’s ENERGY STAR® program.
SEER ratings are important, but just one of many factors to consider. Your system’s efficiency is also affected by the size of your home, the condition of your air ducts, and the region you live in. The best way to find a perfect fit for your unique circumstances is to consult with professionals who know what to look for.
The difference between 16 SEER and 14 SEER
HVAC units with a 16 SEER rating are 14 percent more efficient than units with a rating of 14. (16 divided by 14 equals 1.14) That difference would certainly be noticeable in your monthly bills, but don’t forget that there may be other factors that impact your monthly HVAC expenses.
Is a higher-SEER upgrade worth it?
If the current unit in your home has a low SEER rating, an upgraded unit with a higher SEER rating will likely reduce your monthly energy expenses. For instance, if you get a 16 SEER unit to replace one that has a rating of 5, the savings on your monthly electric bill could eventually cover the cost of your new unit. It won’t be a sudden, drastic reduction of your energy bill, but rather, a gradual accumulation of savings over time.
It’s worth noting that high-SEER units tend to be costlier than low-SEER units, but this is only because more efficient units are made with the newest, most advanced technology.
Other factors to consider when upgrading your HVAC system
Don’t forget, your priority is choosing a system that best suits your family’s living space, not necessarily one with the best SEER rating. If you make your decision based on SEER rating or price alone, you may end up with a less-than-ideal solution for your home.
Upgrading your HVAC system is not a do-it-yourself project. But, fortunately, we make it easy to find qualified contractors who will get the job done right. Book a free, no-obligation consultation now, so we can assess your needs and provide options for upgrading our HVAC system.
New HVAC units also come with a 10% Discount Off Everyday Dealer Pricing* for Sam’s Club Members.
Energy Star® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.