Central Air Efficiency

If you’ve done any shopping for air conditioners recently, you’ve probably run across the term SEER. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, which is more or less self-explanatory. The SEER rating describes how efficiently your air conditioner or heat pump can cool your home. Higher SEER ratings are better; that is, the higher the SEER, the less electricity your air conditioner will use to provide the same amount of cooling power.

SEER ratings have increased quite substantially over the last few decades. Back in the 1970s, for instance, the average air conditioner was SEER 6. Today, the bare minimum is 9.7 for single-package systems and 10 for split systems. If you’re serious about saving money, though, there are plenty of options available with substantially higher SEER ratings. Top-of-the-line central air conditioners can get up to SEER 20, and ductless split systems can go even higher. Replacing your air conditioner with a more efficient model is a powerful way to save electricity; for instance, upgrading from an older SEER 9 system to a high-efficiency SEER 18 unit will cut your energy usage in half.
Every air conditioner has a nominal SEER rating provided by the manufacturer, but because no two homes are alike, your energy performance may vary. Depending on the local climate, home layout, quality of ductwork and insulation, your actual efficiency may be higher or lower than the unit’s SEER rating. When we install an air conditioner or heat pump in your home, we’ll analyze your cooling situation and give you an actual SEER rating that will describe your air conditioner’s performance specific to your home.

The good news is that because SEER depends on more than the air conditioner itself, there are steps you can take to improve your energy efficiency without replacing your air conditioner. Adding more insulation to your home can help, as can having your ducts sealed. Even steps as simple as making sure the outdoor unit is in the shade, which makes it easier for the air conditioner to remove heat from the home, can change your SEER. We’ll be happy to help you optimize your home for highly efficient cooling.