New Federal Standards for Air Conditioning Efficiency
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is an air conditioning efficiency rating. To determine your SEER, the cooling output is divided by the energy input, yielding your achieved cooling versus energy cost in its production. The higher the SEER, the more efficiency you are receiving from your air conditioning unit.
Why is the SEER rating important to me, you ask? The answer both savings and a reduction in your carbon footprint! The typical reduction of your energy cost upgrading from a 10 SEER unit to a 15 SEER unit is 37% annually! In this example alone, your household could pocket hundreds of dollars each year, while positively affecting our environment! New Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) standards will be enforced BY THE Department of Energy for air conditioners and heat pumps installed on or after January 1, 2015; however, standards differ by region. The rationale for regional standards is that the United States climate varies enormously, and evaluating the cost effectiveness more appropriately for different locales will ensure cost-effective efficiency. The former 13 SEER air conditioning standards has changed to 14 SEER in most of the country, with 13 SEER still acceptable in northern states. In all regions, split-system heat pumps will move an increase in efficiency from 13 SEER and 7.7 HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) to the new minimum of 14 SEER and 8.2 HSPF. Although the changes took effect January 1, 2015, the new regulation includes an 18-month grace period for compliance.
How to find your SEER rating:
Find the BTUs/hour and the watts used/hour of your air conditioner (found on the machine itself, in its operating manual, or through the manufacturer’s website), and divide the BTU’s by the watt hours.