What’s the SEER Rating of Your AC System?
Both central and ductless air conditioners are capable of effectively and efficiently cooling your home. One type of system is not necessarily better than the other, but sometimes one is a better fit for a home or a specific need than the other. Some of the factors that influence your choice between central and ductless AC are the specifics of your existing central heating and cooling system, its performance, your home’s layout, and your personal preferences. A professional cooling contractor can advise you on which system is most suitable for your unique home and circumstances.
Understanding SEER Ratings
SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio and is represented as a number. The higher the number, the more energy efficient the AC equipment is on electrical consumption, which translates to lower electrical bills to cool your home. SEER ratings provide a convenient way to compare different brands and models when shopping for a new air conditioner. There’s a broad range of equipment efficiencies currently available, which meet local and national code requirements and fill a variety of residential needs.
Central AC and Ductless AC SEER Ratings
The efficiency range of currently available central air conditioners ranges from approximately 13 to 25 SEER, depending on the match of the outdoor condensing unit, the indoor evaporator coil (aka. ‘A-coil’) located in the ducting by the furnace, and also the furnace, itself, which blows the cool air around your home. Some central AC systems offer enhanced performance and comfort features such as variable output and 2-stage designs, and may require upgrading the furnace to a unit with similar features (providing enhanced comfort during the winter!). These state-of-the-art systems provide the quietest, least intrusive, and most even central cooling, along with impressive efficiency ratings.
Ductless Mini-Split AC
Ductless AC efficiencies are comparable to central air conditioners, offering an approximate range of 15 to 26 SEER. Many high end units feature very efficient, very quiet, variable speed compressors in the outdoor condenser, and the indoor blower units are also remarkably quiet and unobtrusive. There’s a variety of blower unit configurations available to suit a range of installation challenges.
Our ‘ductless customers’ just love their systems. Also known as ductless mini-splits, these AC systems provide the ultimate in zoned cooling – and they are also available as heat pumps models, providing zoned cooling and heating for year-round comfort.
The right efficiency level for your home depends on factors such as:
- Your budget
- The size of your home
- Your projected cooling needs
- Your home’s cooling load
- How long you plan on living in the home
- Your desired savings on monthly cooling costs
Your trusted HVAC contractor would be glad to review the specifics of your situation and recommend cooling units that make sense for you to consider.
What’s the SEER Rating of Your Existing AC?
You can check your current system’s approximate SEER rating by looking at the energy guide sticker on the outdoor condensing unit; hopefully, it’s still legible. If you can’t locate the sticker, similar information is contained in the outdoor unit’s full model number, found on the permanent label on the unit. The model number typically begins with a numeral that represents the general range of the system’s attainable SEER rating. If the first two numbers are 17, for example, then your AC’s efficiency rating should be around 17 SEER.
As we alluded to above, in addition to the choice of outdoor condensing unit, the SEER rating of a central AC system also depends on the A-coil selection, as well as the blower in the forced air furnace. A poorly matched (or plugged with dust!) indoor coil, or an inadequate furnace fan, will heavily affect the SEER rating in actual performance. It’s important to make sure that all the components in your AC system are properly matched. If you replace the outdoor condenser in an older cooling system, you absolutely should also upgrade the evaporator coil, as well as make sure that the furnace is a proper fit.
Of special note – we just can’t stress this enough – the performance of a premium central air conditioner can be killed by neglecting regular furnace filter maintenance. The furnace filter ‘protects’ the A-coil, allowing household air to flow through it unimpeded. If the evaporator coil gets plugged with dust or debris, system performance will suffer and utility bills will be noticeably higher.
What’s the Required SEER Rating?
Federal regulations for either type of AC system require a minimum efficiency rating of 13 SEER. Air conditioners built just 10 years ago may have much lower efficiency ratings, costing significantly more to cool a home than many of the newer systems. Because of the varying needs of our customers, Save Home Heat Company regularly sells AC systems with ratings ranging from 13 SEER all the way up to the top end.
The Best Choice for Assistance With Your Home’s Seasonal Comfort
Save Home Heat Company is a highly experienced, very capable heating and cooling company, serving the Boulder and Denver area since 1979. We provide heating and cooling installation, maintenance and repair services, as well as expert plumbing, electrical, hot water, and indoor air quality assistance to our many valued customers. Contact us today to learn more about how can help you.