If you are looking for a new air conditioning unit in Charleston, SC, you have probably come across the term “SEER.” Using SEER ratings can help you buy the right air conditioning unit for your budget that is also the most energy efficient. At Charleston Heating and Air, we will help you find the best, most efficient air conditioning unit possible for our Charleston climate. Energy-efficient units will save you money on your electricity bills each month. You can utilize the SEER ratings to find the best, budget-friendly air conditioning unit.
What Exactly Is a SEER Rating?
SEER ratings help consumers understand which air conditioning units are more energy efficient than others. They are different from the old energy ratings that were in use in past decades. In the past, a rating called EER was used. This rating was derived by determining the energy efficiency of an air conditioning unit in 90-degree weather. Since people use their air conditioning units in a greater range of temperatures than just 90 degrees, a better rating method had to be found.
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. It is calculated by determining the total cooling BTUs a system produces during an entire typical summer. That figure is divided by how many watts of energy it takes to produce that cooling flow. This produces the SEER figure. SEER is a more comprehensive look at cooling throughput versus energy usage throughout all portions of the warmer seasons. SEER helps you know how much energy a system uses in 80 degree weather as well as 100-degree weather.
How Efficient Is My Air Conditioning System Versus Current DOE Requirements?
The US Department of Energy, or DOE, sets the minimum energy efficiency of newer air conditioning units sold in the US market. The energy-efficiency rating used by the DOE to set these guidelines is SEER. In 1992, the first minimum SEER rating for new air conditioning units was only 10. It was not until 2006 that the rating was raised to 13 for new air conditioning units sold in the US market. Today, units sold in the Southern states need a SEER of 14 or more. In the Northern states, a SEER of 13 is acceptable.
Thus, if your air conditioning system was sold before 2006, it is likely only a 10-SEER unit. A new AC unit can save you quite a bit of money on your monthly electric bill each summer. You can find out by looking on the big, yellow label on the side of your unit. If the label is missing, you can also call the manufacturer with the unit’s model and serial number. In 2023, the new minimum SEER ratings for air conditioners begin. Here in the South, all units sold from 2023 and beyond must have a SEER rating of 15 or more. Thus, the majority of air conditioners being sold here in 2022 are 15- to 18-SEER units.
Finding the “Goldilocks” Air Conditioning Unit With SEER Ratings
You can find out online how much money you will save each month by purchasing a new air conditioning unit. You can Google a SEER calculator. The calculators will have you input your location and the SEER rating for your current unit. These calculators store the current, updated electricity costs for consumers around the country. Then, you can input different SEER ratings for newer units to see how much money you will save each month.
Costs Versus Benefits in SEER Ratings
You will need to factor in the cost of the air conditioning units with some of the highest SEER ratings versus the units that have ratings of 15 to 18. For most people, they find units at the highest SEER ratings cost too much to justify the savings. Most people will find they save quite a bit of money each month on a 15- to 18-SEER unit. You will save quite a bit of money going from an older, 10-SEER unit to a 15-SEER system. A 15-SEER unit will use 2/3 the energy to cool your home as compared to your current 10-SEER model. Thus, you will save 1/3 on your energy cost for cooling your home. This will help you recoup the cost of replacing your 10-SEER model that is possibly needing more frequent repairs.
SEER ratings of around 19 and 20 are the beginnings of the highest SEER levels. These units are far more expensive than the units with ratings from 15 to 18. They have more advanced technology. Central air units that are nearer the current minimum SEER have single-speed compressors and fans. Units with higher SEER ratings have variable- or dual-speed fans and compressors.
The way the single-speed air conditioning units work is that they are only on the highest mode or off. Operating on the highest mode is the only one available. Units with multi-speed compressors and fans operate on the high setting only until the room is cool. Then, they cycle to a lower level to maintain that temperature. This keeps your room temperature more evenly cool and saves on energy. The newer units with the lower ratings cycle on and off more frequently. Being on on the highest setting for all of the cycle is not as energy efficient. The higher-efficiency units, where the blower works mostly on a low setting, create less noise and help with humidity.
Multi-stage air conditioning units make a large jump in price from the single-stage units. The price jump from a new, single-stage unit to a multi- or variable-stage unit can be $3,000 or more. It also can cost more to replace some of the parts on a multi-stage air conditioning system.
Replacing your older air conditioning unit to one with a rating of 15 SEER will save electricity each month. The added cost of the units with the highest ratings available is not budget friendly for most. Air conditioning units nearer the minimum SEER rating will save you ample money on electricity to recoup your investment.
Some people have their hearts set on getting a multi-speed model for even greater energy-efficiency. You are going to have this new unit for the next 15 or so years. Look for local, state and federal rebates that might enable you to buy the more efficient unit. Also, the Energy Star units tend to frequently have rebates. The details on these offers will be found on the Energy Star website. These offers tend to change over time, but you can search for any of them online.
Personalized Air Conditioning Installation in Charleston
At Charleston Heating and Air in Charleston, we provide air conditioning installations for our local area. We are one of the largest heating, air conditioning and plumbing providers in Charleston. We still provide personalized service for every customer and have been for over a decade. If you need heating or air conditioning installations, maintenance or repairs, call on us. We provide free estimates and customized financing on approved credit. We also offer regular specials on services for our customers.
The Better Business Bureau has accredited us with an A+ rating. We have also won numerous awards in the Charleston area, including Best AC Company and Best of Charleston.
Call us at Charleston Heating and Air in Charleston for your air conditioning installation needs.