If you’ve reached the point where your HVAC  system needs to be replaced, you’ve probably found that your choices are a bit overwhelming. One of the most important factors to consider is energy efficiency. However, it’s not always easy to tell how to compare the efficiency of different systems. A good understanding of air conditioner ratings can help you make the right choice.

Efficiency Ratings

EER

(Energy Efficiency Ratio) is intended to help you compare the energy efficiency of two systems trying to cool a house on a hot day. Based on an outside temperature of 95, EER calculates how much energy is needed to cool a home to 80 degrees. If a system uses a relatively low amount of energy, it gets a higher EER rating.

SEER

(Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) takes this concept and applies it to the entire cooling season. Hopefully, you won’t have 95-degree days every day. Most of the time, you start and end the season with slightly cooler temperatures than you encounter in the middle of the season. To factor this in, SEER looks at the amount of energy needed to keep a home cool in temperatures ranging from a high of 104 to a low of 65. Again, less energy used means a higher SEER rating. The minimum SEER rating allowed for new systems is 13 in the northern regions and 14 in the southern and southwestern regions.

Putting the Ratings to Use

When you are comparing two systems, the one with the higher ratings will be more efficient. However, you also have to take into account the overall cost of the system. More efficient systems typically cost more, so it is not usually cost-effective to just get the highest SEER-rated system available without understanding your specific needs. Higher efficiency is usually more important in warm climates where the system runs more often than it is in cooler climates. If all this sounds very confusing, you are not alone. After a thorough on-site evaluation, your HVAC contractor can help you decide what is best for your home or business.
Interested in learning more about air conditioner ratings or other considerations for replacing your HVAC system in your Eastern North Carolina home? Contact Jackson & Sons today.