When the time comes to upgrade your HVAC system, one of the terms homeowners will encounter is the system’s SEER rating. SEER is an acronym that stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, developed in 2008 by the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI). The SEER rating is the ratio of an air conditioner or heat pump over a cooling season divided by the energy it uses in watt-hours.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE] updated SEER calculations in 2023 to accommodate new product regulations. The new SEER2 standards include the total heat removed from the conditioned space during a cooling season and a new M1 blower testing procedure that measures the system’s external static pressure. Buyers will now see SEER2 ratings on new units.
What Is the Difference Between SEER and SEER2?
Testing conditions define the main difference between SEER and SEER2. Although some differences are minimal, they produce different data values that align more closely to reduce overall energy consumption. The old SEER testing conditions did not account for the influence of ductwork on external static pressure and did not accurately reflect real-world applications.
Why These Ratings Are Important
Whether the unit you are considering for your Pennsylvania home has a SEER or SEER2 rating, its number is important because these ratings reflect the unit’s efficiency. SEER is similar to the miles-per-gallon rating the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues for vehicles. In short, the higher the number, the more energy-efficient the HVAC system is.
The Benefits of Higher SEER Ratings
Whichever SEER rating your new HVAC unit has, you will have a good indication of how much money it will cost you for indoor comfort. You can experience the following benefits when purchasing a new HVAC system from O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning with a higher SEER rating.
Greater Indoor Comfort
High-efficiency systems usually have two-stage or variable-speed heating and cooling, resulting in fewer temperature dips and spikes. They’re available with several hundred different settings and typically have SEER ratings of 20 or above. Systems with lower SEER ratings usually have single-stage units with only one setting. These can struggle to maintain temperature, especially if your home is large or has several stories. They will also turn on and off frequently. Your home will experience higher humidity with a lower SEER system. The unit may also require more maintenance to run efficiently.
Lower Energy Costs
Mid- to high-efficiency SEER systems have lower energy costs because their multiple settings allow them to use less energy. High-SEER systems use smart technology to adjust the temperature slightly by switching to a lower setting that doesn’t need as much energy.
You may qualify for a federal tax credit when you install a new HVAC unit with a high SEER rating. To receive the federal tax credit, install an HVAC unit with a SEER rating of 16 or higher. This rating applies to regular units as well as split systems.
Is There a Magic SEER Rating?
There’s no magic SEER2 number. Anything over 13.4 is excellent. Because if you have an old 8 SEER system and replace it with a 15.2 SEER2 unit, you could significantly reduce the cost of cooling your home.
Many different factors go into choosing your new HVAC system from O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning, so there is no one-size-fits-all SEER rating. Your home’s ductwork and insulation are important factors. Smaller homes can do just fine with a lower SEER unit if it has been appropriately sized.
However, Pennsylvania has minimum SEER requirements. Split system air conditions must have at least 13 SEER. All other system types, including heat pumps or packaged air conditioners, must have ratings of at least 14 SEER.
Learn More About Our Services
O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning offers a wide variety of HVAC services for your home or business; we offer repair, maintenance, and installation for your heating and air conditioning units, along with commercial HVAC, duct cleaning, air purifiers, heat pumps, and traditional and tankless water heaters. Our company only deals with reputable equipment manufacturers so you can be assured of the highest quality for every installation.
If you have questions about SEER or SEER2 rating or want more information on a new HVAC system, contact O'Brien Heating & Air Conditioning today to work with one of our consultants who can recommend the best unit for your home.