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What is a SEER Rating?

technician adjusting the temperature of a thermostat

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This ratio measures how high the cooling potential of an HVAC unit is, divided by the input of electrical energy into the machine. In short, SEER measures how efficiently your air conditioner can cool your home.

As the SEER rating of your HVAC unit increases, so does the efficiency. The math behind actually determining the SEER rating of any particular machine is highly technical, so we won’t recreate it here. But as SEER rating increases so does the cost of the HVAC unit itself.

What SEER Rating Do I Need in My Home?

When you’re deciding between air conditioning units for your home, SEER rating is an easy point of comparison. At a glance, you can determine both the effectiveness and estimated cost of running your air conditioner using the SEER rating. However, SEER rating is only part of the equation.

You must also consider the climate of your home and determine how difficult it would be for air conditioners to cool the air to a comfortable temperature.

For example, the federally regulated minimum SEER rating for HVAC units is 13-14. These are standard units that you’ll find to install in your home. The maximum rating is as high as 25, though these units are not usually necessary except in extreme climates.

When you’re looking into a new air conditioning unit, you may be offered the choice between several SEER ratings. Speak with your technician and make sure that you’re getting the best unit for your home. Often this includes taking external climate, your home’s insulation, and ductwork into account.

What is the Difference Between SEER and EER?

Another confusion regarding SEER rating is the similarly named EER rating. As expected, EER stands for “Energy Efficiency Ratio,” and is a much older measurement of HVAC unit efficiency. EER is a constant number, as opposed to SEER, which calculates cooling power based on geographical and climatological factors.

Put simply, EER is a standard number that can be used to compare unit vs. unit, and SEER is a helpful consumer-focused number that can help determine the cooling impact on your home.

What SEER Rating Qualifies for Tax Credits in 2016?

This year, HVAC units must meet these standards to qualify for tax credits:

Air Conditioners:

  • Split systems
    • Minimum: 15 SEER / 12.5 EER
  • Packaged systems
    • Minimum: 15 SEER / 12 EER

Heat Pump systems:

  • Split systems
    • Minimum: 15 SEER / 12.5 EER / 8.5 HSPF
  • Packaged systems
    • Minimum: 15 SEER / 12 EER / 8.2 HSPF

These systems qualify for tax credits in 2016, and can help you save some money on cooling your home.

If you’re still unsure about the effect of SEER rating on your home cooling system, give us a call at Stan’s. We’d love to clarify any confusion or assist you in any way possible.