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Myths About SEER Ratings


Is this the year you buy a new air conditioner? If you’ve done a little research, you’ve probably noticed air conditioners have SEER ratings.

A SEER rating is the ratio of the cooling output over an average cooling season, divided by the energy it consumes over the same time period. It’s calculated by assuming the inside temperature remains the same, while the outside temperatures range from the 60s to the 100s.

Air conditioners come with SEER ratings ranging from 13 up to 25. It’s easy to assume the lower end range has lower efficiency, and the higher you go, the more efficiency you’ll be able to bring into your home. But there’s more to it than that.

How old is your equipment? Even air conditioners from several years ago can have SEER ratings of 8 or 9. By jumping to a 13 or 14, you can improve your home’s efficiency by a fairly large margin. So then it becomes a matter of deciding on what SEER rating is the best for your money.

Myth: Higher SEER rating pay for themselves

Just because a unit has a higher SEER rating doesn’t mean you’ll see it reflected on your utility bills. SEER ratings are calculated at peak performance. Your home is anything but peak living. So no matter how much a SEER rating promises you, you’ll likely never see the optimal conditions to make it so. Ask yourself where your current equipment is rated, and how much a new system would benefit you. Is is worth paying more for the equipment up front? How long are you planning on living in your home?

Myth: Higher SEER rating ensure higher quality equipment

SEER ratings show you how efficient the equipment is in perfect conditions, not how well the equipment is built. Quality depends on the manufacturing process; how well the equipment holds over time. In some cases, a lower SEER rating can give you a higher quality air conditioner, which requires less repair work each season. That’s why it’s important to work with an HVAC technician you can trust, who will guide you to the perfect system for your lifestyle.

Myth: Upgrading SEER ratings means a more efficient system

You can’t upgrade one piece of equipment at a time and expect your entire system to be more efficient. It still uses the same venting system as before – unless you upgrade that too. The only way to receive optimal results is to upgrade your entire system at one time.

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