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Heating & Air News

SEER Ratings & How to Find Them

Posted by Howell's Heating & Air on March 02, 2018


Do you know the SEER rating on your existing heat pump or central air conditioner? Effective January 1, 2015, the US Government required that split system heat pumps and central air conditioners installed in the Southeastern Region of the United States of America to be at least 14 SEER. (that includes us here in Hanover County and the metro Richmond area as well)!

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What Is a SEER Rating?

If you have a cooling system, chances are you've heard of the term "SEER rating". SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating, which is a number that is determined by the manufacturer and required by the U.S. government. A SEER rating tells consumers how energy efficient a home's cooling unit is. The higher the SEER rating of your system, the less energy it will consume. This translates to greater energy efficiency, lower utility bills, and less environmental impact. 

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For most units, the SEER rating is located on the outside of the unit. If you can't find your SEER rating, the AHRI (Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute) provides a great directory look up, which allows you to put in the make/model of your unit to find its SEER rating.

How Much Can I Save With a Higher SEER Rating?

Using this cool SEER Savings Calculator from Kobie Complete, you can compare your existing unit with a more efficient unit and calculate the savings. In Ashland and Richmond, VA you can save up to 44% a year on cooling costs by upgrading to 16 SEER from a 9 SEER 3.0 ton unit (based on 11.04 cents/KWh and a run time of 8 hours a day/4 months a year)

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How Important Is a SEER Rating?

12 reasons to purchase a heat pump or air conditioner that carries a 14 SEER rating or higher:

  1. 14 SEER or higher units are 20% to 50% more efficient than 10 SEER units, saving you energy dollars through every season of the year.
  2. They are much quieter than 10 SEER units, which makes your home a more pleasant place to live.
  3. They have a 5 to 10 year compressor warranty and up to five years full parts, labor, materials and Freon warranty, which ensures that the costs to run this unit are low. (Ask us for details)
  4. They are built better and have a much nicer fit and finish.
  5. 14 SEER or higher units are fitted with much better controls and protective devices to protect the unit if a problem occurs (bad power, refrigerant loss, etc.)
  6. 14 SEER or higher units have a new high tech scroll compressor which is extremely reliable and provides warmer feeling heat.
  7. They have a 5 minute time-delay to keep heat from turning on and off during storms, or if someone is tampering with the thermostat.
  8. They have commercial grade service valves to keep service costs down and equipment life high.
  9. They have compressor sound and fan insulation systems that are attractive and significantly reduce the sound of the outdoor unit.
  10. They have a much better blower than the standard system which enhances performance and comfort.
  11. They have an expansion valve that adjusts the refrigerant flow which allows the unit to provide a higher level of comfort and better humidity control.
  12. 14 SEER or higher units have an accumulator which catches extra refrigerant and helps protect the compressor.

Why Should I Care About Energy Effeciency?

The total cost of any appliance (including an HVAC system) has three components - the purchase price, the cost of repairs and maintenance, and the cost to operate the appliance. The more energy efficient an appliance is, the less it costs to run and the lower your utility bills. Using less energy is good for the environment too; it can reduce air pollution and conserves our natural resources.

EER Rating Vs. SEER Ratting: What's the Difference?

Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) is a measure of how efficiently a cooling system will operate when the outdoor temperature is at a specific level (95oF). In technical terms, EER is the steady-state rate of heat energy removal (i.e. cooling capacity) by the product measured in Btuh divided by the steady-state rate of energy input to the product measured in watts. This ratio is expressed in Btuh/watt. The higher the EER, the more efficient the air conditioner.

Both SEER and EER are included in the ENERGY STAR specification because each rating indicates the energy efficiency of the product under different operating modes. SEER rating more accurately reflects overall system efficiency on a seasonal basis and EER reflects the system’s energy efficiency at peak day operations. Both ratings are important when choosing a product.

Learn More About SEER Ratings

For more information on your unit's SEER rating or to find out which high efficiency model would be a great replacement for your home and comfort, contact us online or at 804-798-1371.

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Topics: energy efficiency, Air Conditioning, seer, seer rating, seer rating requirement, hvac, heat pump

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