Heating and air conditioning systems today have yellow tags on their side. These tags are required by federal law on all heating and air conditioning systems sold in the country. The tags help consumers find heating and cooling systems that are energy-saving. This helps you save money each month on electricity. For whole-house air conditioning units, the tag on the side has a rating called SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). SEER ratings can save you money each month on electricity and help you find the most budget-friendly unit. At Black-Haak in Greenville, WI, we help our customers make sense of SEER ratings.
What Is a SEER Rating?
SEER ratings are a means of helping consumers determine which air conditioning units save the most money. Air conditioning units currently sold on the market must be tested to determine their SEER rating.
Air conditioning units are tested at every temperature from 64 degrees to 104 degrees. At each temperature, a ratio of how much energy it took to provide sufficient cooling is calculated. The SEER rating is determined based on this data.
Compared to other means of determining energy efficiency for air conditioners, SEER is the most complete rating. This rating tells you about energy efficiency throughout an entire season. The other rating, EER, only tells you how efficient an air conditioning system is at cooling in 95-degree weather.
Since the 1990s, the government has set a minimum SEER standard. This is the minimum SEER rating for any air conditioning unit sold in the country. The first minimum SEER rating was 10. That standard stayed in place until 2006. From then on, the government has periodically raised the minimum SEER rating for air conditioning units sold in this country.
Minimum SEER Rating Increasing in 2023
If your air conditioning unit is older and beginning to require more repairs, you are likely considering a new unit. In 2023, the minimum SEER requirement will be increased for all new air conditioning units sold in the US. The requirement in 2022 here in the Northern states is 13 SEER. In the Southern states, the requirement is 14 SEER. In 2023, that requirement will be increased by 1 SEER level for each area of the country. Thus, the requirement in Wisconsin will be 14 SEER at the beginning of the year.
This revised law helps our neighbors here in Greenville. Since our revised standard of 14 SEER was the older standard for southern states, we are already selling new units with SEER ratings that reflect our updated requirement. Because the minimum SEER in the entire southern half of the country is now 15, the majority of the new air conditioning units that are currently being manufactured are rated at a SEER of 15 to 18. These upgraded units are the new, budget-friendly air conditioning units that are good for everyone. By making their homes more energy efficient, homeowners save money while decreasing their demand for a critical shared resource.
Your Current Air Conditioning Unit
Air conditioning units tend to last about 15 or so years. If you purchased your air conditioning unit before 2006, it was only required to have a SEER of 10. The new units with a SEER of 15 are 33% more efficient than the older unit you may have right now. When you are ready to replace a 10-SEER unit, you will save one-third on your air conditioning electricity costs. This will help you recoup the cost of replacing the unit.
If you want to more closely approximate how much money you will save, Google “SEER calculator.” You can input the name of your city and the SEER rating of your current air conditioning unit. If the yellow label is long since gone, it may be on the unit’s nameplate or in the instruction manual. You can also call the company and provide the serial number and model number to get the SEER rating. These calculators are databases that store the current price per kilowatt of electricity in your area.
You may need to replace your current air conditioning unit with a newer model if it is experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Frequent need for repairs
- Weak airflow
- Warm air output
- Growling, whistling or banging noises
- Leaking refrigerant
- Drastically higher electric bills
- Frequently tripping the circuit breaker
These signs do not necessarily mean that your air conditioner is going to fail. However, if it’s an older unit, the constant mechanical stress on the components is definitely aging your system. Give us a call, and one of our technicians can diagnose the issue and provide you with information about repairing the problem or replacing the unit with a more efficient one.
Should I Get a Unit With the Highest SEER Rating?
You don’t have to get the unit with the highest SEER ratings to save money on your electric bill in the summer. You certainly can if you so choose. After all, it stands to reason that the air conditioning units with the highest SEER ratings are the most efficient and use the least amount of electricity.
The reason that air conditioners with SEER ratings 19 and above have a big jump in price is their technology. New air conditioners at the new SEER minimum have single-stage compressors and fans. That means the air conditioner is either operating at the highest and only mode or is cycled off. The more efficient new air conditioners have variable- or dual-speed compressors and fans. They will cycle on the highest mode only long enough to cool the room. Then, they cycle on a lower setting and run most of the time in this lower setting. This saves you money on energy and creates less wear and tear on the air conditioning system in the long run. They also more closely maintain your desired temperature setting on the thermostat.
These air conditioners that are the most energy efficient come at a higher cost. Using the SEER calculator, you can input the SEER of units that you are considering. You can compare the cost of the unit versus the energy savings in order to determine if it best suits your needs.
Experienced Air Conditioning Installation in Greenville
At Black-Haak, we have been serving Greenville and the Fox Valley area since 1956 for all of your air conditioning installation needs. We provide heating and air conditioning installations, maintenance and repair, including geothermal heating and cooling. If you are in need of emergency repair services, don’t hesitate to call. We will be out 24/7, and we won’t charge you more for a weekend service call. We also provide electrical, plumbing and indoor air quality services in our neighborhoods. We have Better Business Bureau accreditation with an A+ rating.
Call us today at Black-Haak in Greenville for all of your air conditioning installation needs and questions.