A seer is someone who can see the future, but you don't have to be able to see the future in order to understand what a SEER number is. Basically, SEER stands for seasonal estimated efficiency ratio and is a way of rating how efficient an AC unit is. However, in order to understand how to make a good AC purchase, you need to dig a little deeper.
How Do You Come up with a SEER Number?
The SEER number is a ratio between the BTUs of heat that an AC can extract from your home in one hour compared to how much electricity it uses in the same period of time. To come up with a SEER rating, manufacturers test the ability of an unit to cool the air in your home over a range of temperatures extending from 65˚ Fahrenheit to 104˚ Fahrenheit. This method is supposed to simulate the cooling demands on the AC unit over the course of a cooling season.
Understanding SEER Ratings
You don't have to have a degree in thermodynamics in order to understand what a SEER number means in terms of buying a new AC unit. In fact, all you really need to know is that the higher the SEER number is, the more you stand to save on your monthly energy bill. Today, the government mandates that all modern AC units have a minimum SEER of 13, but that wasn't always the case.
So How Much Do You Stand to Save by Upgrading?
The amount you stand to save by upgrading your AC unit depends on how inefficient your old AC unit was. Models built in the 70s started out being less efficient than today's models and only lose efficiency over time. Thus, by upgrading to a modern, highly efficient unit, you can cut your cooling costs by as much as 40%. Another way to look at your savings is that by increasing your SEER number by 4, you will cut your cooling costs by 30%.
A highly efficient AC unit will cost more initially than a less efficient model, but when you purchase a low efficiency AC unit or make repairs to an aging unit, you perpetuate higher cooling costs over the life of your unit. Thus, if you have the ability to upgrade your unit and reduce your energy use by 30-50% from month to month and from year to year, the most cost-effective choice is to make the upgrade. Try talking to an AC contractor from a company like Bel Air Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning for more information.