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All About SEER Ratings: Info from an Air Conditioning Service in Albany, OR

Are you considering buying a new air conditioner? As you go through your research, you’ll quickly discover that SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is an important measure of the efficiency of the equipment, and something you are going to want to consider while deciding which unit you will buy.

There is a minimum national requirement (14 SEER), but you might be interested in units with a higher SEER, perhaps 18 or more. However, it’s important to keep in mind that a higher SEER does not always mean you’ll save more money—though it does offer you more control over your comfort.

Here is some more in-depth information about SEER ratings from our air conditioning service in Albany, OR.

Does SEER affect your savings?

In the long run, a higher SEER rating will not necessarily mean you get more savings out of the purchase. The best comparison we can give you is gas mileage. A car that gives you 35 miles per gallon is more efficient than a car that gives you 25 miles per gallon but will also cost more upfront. The same thing is true with SEER and air conditioning units—you’ll need to run the numbers to determine whether the higher SEER is really worth the added initial price tag and what the long-term prognosis for savings is.

Let’s look at two popular SEER ratings: 21 and 16. A 16 SEER unit will cost you in the neighborhood of $1,750, while a 21 SEER unit will cost you in the neighborhood of $4,000. You’ll likely save about 24 or 25 percent in energy per year over a 16 SEER unit. You’ll need to go about 12-15 years to recoup the extra money you spent on the 21 SEER unit, which, depending on how long your unit lasts, may or may not end up being worth it.

So ultimately, it comes down to the amount of money you’re willing to pay up front and whether, after doing the math, you think you’ll save money in the long run. But you shouldn’t count on always saving more with the higher SEER rating.

How SEER affects your comfort

What you can be sure of, however, is that higher SEER ratings will make it much easier for you to achieve optimal indoor comfort, especially in particularly warm climates. All higher SEER units have two-stage compressors and variable speed blowers, which you won’t find in lower SEER units—they’ll only have one-stage (one-speed) compressors, which means they will turn on and off much more frequently.

There are several problems with this. First, turning on and off is what saps the most energy with regard to air conditioner usage, which means already you’re getting less efficient operation. Second, the constant on and off nature of the machine means you’re more likely to experience uneven cooling in your home. And third, air conditioning needs to run longer for you to reduce your humidity levels. If it’s turning on and off frequently, you’ll have a harder time removing that humidity from your home.

For more information about SEER to consider, contact our air conditioning service in Albany, OR.

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