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What is a Seer Rating?

As you research HVAC systems and air conditioners, you will keep seeing the term SEER rating pop up. This is an important term that you should become more familiar with. Keep reading to get a full understanding of why SEER came about, what it means, and why it is important.

What Does SEER Mean in HVAC

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. At the most basic level, it indicates an HVAC system’s overall energy efficiency. This ratio is determined by dividing the cooling output of the equipment over a cooling season by the total energy used. Essentially, the less energy a unit uses up in order to comfortably cool your home, the higher the SEER rating will be. A higher SEER rating means a more energy-efficient system that will ultimately cost you less to operate.

AC SEER Rating

In the 1980s, the U.S. Department of Energy came together with the Air Conditioning Heating, and Refrigeration Institute to create the SEER rating in order to create more efficient and environmentally-friendly HVAC systems. In 1992, legislation went into effect that mandated the manufacturers produce equipment with a minimum SEER rating of 10. By 2006, the minimum standard was raised to 14 and this remains the standard in most states today, although many Southern states recently raised the bar to 15.

With technology rapidly progressing, SEER ratings on mini-split conditioners have reached a SEER rating of 42. However, most central air conditioners have an average SEER rating of 16 although they can go as high as 23. Essentially, investing in an AC unit with a higher SEER rating will involve more upfront costs, but you will enjoy a more comfortable home and pay less each month in utility bills, which is significant because the HVAC system typically accounts for about 48% of a home’s energy usage.

When considering what SEER rating you should be looking to purchase it is important to remember that the SEER is the maximum efficiency that can be achieved when all the conditions are just right. Think about the number of miles per gallon (mpg) with your car. When you are traveling on the highway, you will get better mpg, but once you hit the city the number will drop. This same principle applies to your air conditioner. If it has a 16 SEER rating, it won’t always be running at that level. In addition, experts estimate that energy efficiency can drop by 10-20% because of leaks in the ductwork. The SEER is an indication and not a guarantee that your AC will always be reaching maximum efficiency.

AC Conditioner SEER

If you have an air conditioner that was manufactured 10 to 15 years ago, you should expect a SEER rating of 8-10. You can check on the SEER rating of your existing unit by looking in a few places:

  • There should be a yellow and black EnergyGuide sticker on the exterior of the unit.
  • The SEER rating is typically built into the model number. For example, if the model number reads XV20i, you have a 20 SEER rating.
  • Typically, there will be a piece of paper that is attached to the indoor unit or air handler that will include the SEER rating.
  • If you can’t find the number in any of these places you can contact the manufacturer and they will be able to tell you based on the model and serial number.

When you shop for new air conditioners, the SEER rating will be prominently displayed on the box with the distinctive yellow and black EnergyGuide sticker. Keep in mind that replacing an older unit can save you 20-40% on your energy bills every year.


If you want to maximize your energy efficiency and lower your energy bills, purchasing an HVAC  with a high SEER may be just the beginning. As mentioned, if you have old ductwork, you will want to take the time to secure connections and repair any leaks so that you aren’t allowing air to escape.

The insulation in your home can also impact your energy efficiency. Make sure that your attics, crawlspaces, and basements are properly insulated and that the insulation hasn’t deteriorated over time.

Finally, it is common for air to escape from the home around windows and doors. Be sure to fill in any gaps. You can use caulk and weatherstripping to prevent leaks. Not only will your home be more comfortable, but your HVAC system also won’t have to work as hard, which can prolong the life of your system.

Is a 30 SEER Worth the Money?

While it might be ideal to purchase an air conditioner or HVAC with the highest SEER rating, that doesn’t take your personal budget into account. As mentioned above, a more efficient system is going to cost you more upfront. While you will save over time and experience a great return on your investment, not everyone has the budget to purchase a more expensive model. Finding the right AC unit for you means finding one that will properly cool your home, one that has a SEER rating of at least 14, and one that can fit your budget.

If you still aren’t sure if investing in a 30 SEER model is worth the money, here are some factors to consider.

  • Replacing an 8 SEER air conditioner with a 16 SEER model can lead to an energy bill savings of 50%. Over time, those numbers can really add up.
  • Installing a more efficient AC unit can increase the value of your home. Even if you aren’t currently considering selling your home, you can still benefit from a higher resale value even five years from now.
  • In some cases, repairing a higher SEER model can be more expensive. However, newer, more advanced models are less likely to require repairs and some repairs may be covered under your warranty.
  • If you choose a 21 SEER model over a 14 SEER unit, you can expect to pay $3000 – $5000 more upfront.
  • Higher SEER models are more eco-friendly because they don’t consume as many natural resources and they aren’t as noisy when they are running.
  • Typically, you can expect to increase energy efficiency by 7% for every added SEER.

While the price tag of a 30 SEER air conditioner may give you some sticker shock, it is important to think about the long-term effects. Essentially, more-efficient models provide tremendous value in many areas. Most notably, you can drastically reduce your energy consumption and costs. You will also enjoy a more quiet and comfortable home with less humidity while also adding to the overall value of your home. Budget is a determining factor when choosing an AC unit, but if you can afford the upfront costs, it is well worth the money.

If you have more questions about SEER ratings and why they matter or you are ready to upgrade your existing unit and lower your bills, contact the experts at Comfort Caddies. We can answer all your questions and get you matched up with the right system for your home.

Superior Customer Service

Our technicians also have a clear commitment to providing superior customer service. Again, having to deal with AC repairs can be stressful, but we want to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible. Our friendly technicians will answer all your questions, leave your space cleaner than they found it, and make sure that you have a positive experience.

At Comfort Caddies, our goal is to exceed your expectations and simplify the AC repair process for our customers. We are creating a new standard when it comes to service and we think that you will notice the difference. Contact us today for the best in AC repair services throughout the Naples, Florida, area.

Energy Efficiency, SEER Ratings

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