Everything You Need To Know About HVAC SEER Ratings

If it’s time to change the old HVAC system in your home or business place, you’ll need to think about the SEER rating. Simply put, the SEER rating is based on the seasonal energy efficiency ratio of your system. However, it should be noted that before you can actively select a rating, you’ll first need to determine what you’re looking for in a cooling or heating system. So, read on as we dive into everything you need to know about HVAC SEER ratings.

Understanding SEER
Understanding SEER

What Is SEER?

As we previously mentioned, SEER is the shortened form of the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. In essence, this gives the ratio of the cooling output during typical cooling seasons. However, this value is then divided by the energy quantity in Watt-Hours. The SEER of a system is also often referred to as the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating.

Another common calculation for the SEER ratio involves considering the cooling season, a range of outdoor temperatures, and an indoor temperature. This provides an ideal simulation for the entire season. However, it should be noted that the SEER ratio is a representation of the maximum efficiency of the unit.

This can be considered using the concept of your vehicle and the miles per gallon used. If your car travels along the highway at 28 miles per gallon, the efficiency decreases when you factor in traffic. Hence, the same concept applies to your HVAC system. If the ratio on your unit is 21, this is known as the maximum limit and will be lower depending on the surrounding or operating conditions.

The Benefits Of A High SEER Rating

Higher Energy Efficiency

When you have a higher SEER rating, you can expect a higher efficiency from the system. However, the minimum acceptable standard for these systems is 13. Newer systems tend to have ratings that range anywhere from 13 all the way to a whopping 21.

While some units offer a SEER rating of 22, it’s best to keep in mind that this is the maximum. As such, the overall efficiency of your system can change. In most instances, the rating is dependent on the installed ductwork, the size of your space, and additional variables. Even though you may have high ratios, it’s best to think of energy-saving tips for different periods in the year.

According to the Department of Energy in the United States, the minimum rating should be dependent on your location. In places such as Southeast or Southwest, the rating is 14 but as you move closer to the North, it goes to 13. While these numbers may seem somewhat low, they do not render the system inefficient.

If you didn’t already know, most of the older units are rated at 9 or even 8. So, it’s best to keep in mind that a low SEER rating doesn’t exactly mean that it’s low.

Greater Indoor Comfort

During the summer months, purchasing an HVAC system with a high SEER ratio means that you’ll be able to enjoy the hotter months and everyone on the premises will be comfortable. Systems that have a higher SEER ratio tend to have two main components that provide comfort. These are:

* The variable-speed compressor or the 2-stage compressor.

* A variable-speed blower.


Understanding SEER
Understanding SEER

Lower SEER Ratings

If your HVAC system has a lower rating, the unit runs on one speed or is single-stage. For better words, this just simply means that they’ll turn off or on when the temperatures are milder. Another telltale sign of this is when the room is unevenly cooled. Hence, cold or hot spots are more noticeable.

Additionally, a greater deal of humidity can also be felt in your home or business. So, if your system needs to be on for excessive periods, then it is recommended that you aim to purchase a system that has a higher SEER ratio. For the most part, single-stage systems don’t compensate for these.

Which HVAC SEER Ratings Are The Best?

While SEER ratings are high or low, it’s not a magic number. So, if you’re shopping around, you can look out for something that is over 13. If you are in possession of an older system, there’s a chance that it’s rated at 9 or even 8. When you replace your lower-rated system with a higher-rated one, you’ll also reduce the cost attached to keeping your home cool.

However, it’s best to keep in mind that higher efficiency also comes at a higher price. In order to get the best, you’ll need to invest in higher technology that offers better performance and efficiency. So, depending on the size of your building or home, an HVAC system with a rating of 15 or even 17 could result in an extra $2500 or even $1500 being added to the cost price.

Additionally, potential owners of these systems can also take advantage of manufacturer’s rebates and tax credits, which reduce the cost of higher-rated systems. If you’re also concerned about preserving the environment, you can breathe a sigh of relief since these ensure that you use fewer fossil fuels that reduce the emissions. With that said, there are tons of manufacturers that produce some of the best systems at a fraction of the price. This ensures that just about everyone can afford these systems.


As we conclude, we have just looked at the HVAC SEER Ratings. HVAC SEER Ratings are dependent on the size of your space, your installed ductwork, and even the operating conditions of the system. So, before purchasing a system, it’s best to have the professionals determine the necessary requirements that are needed for your home or building.

When it comes to the overall rating, anything rated 13 or above is ideal. If you’re interested in the benefits that come with a higher-rated system, you may need to spend more on your investment. Remember, your HVAC specialists can determine the best course of action to ensure that you save some extra on your electric bill. So, contact them for a consultation before you purchase a unit.

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