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Understand Air Conditioner Ratings

If you’re in the market for a new cooling system, knowing what air conditioner ratings mean is the first step to take in system selection. Higher efficiency equipment translates to lower energy consumption, and given the length and intensity of San Antonio summers, the savings offset the higher cost of better efficiency.

Efficiency Ratings

Central air conditioners have two ratings that indicate how effectively they use electricity to provide indoor cooling. The SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) rating for new systems starts at 14 SEER and is an average of the electricity used over the course of a typical cooling season. The EER (energy efficiency ratio) rating indicates how much power the system uses over a shorter period when outdoor temperatures are high.

In this climate, both a high SEER and EER are important, since daytime temperatures often exceed 95 degrees F. To measure the SEER, laboratories hold outdoor temperatures at 82 degrees and calculate how much electricity it took to maintain an indoor space at 80 degrees for a few months. Technicians test the EER by turning up the outdoor temperature to 95 degrees and calculating energy use to keep the space at 80 degrees for a shorter period.

Each single numeric increase in the SEER rating indicates that the air conditioner uses 10 percent less energy for the same amount of cooling. Under laboratory conditions, a system with a SEER rating of 15 uses 10 percent less than one with a rating of 14.

If your current system has a 10 SEER rating, you’ll save significantly by replacing it with a new one, especially if your contractor uses the Energy Star guidelines for new installations that include:

  • Proper system sizing
  • Best placement for the condenser
  • Ductwork sealing
  • Accurate refrigerant installation

Each of these factors makes a difference in the lifetime performance of cooling systems.

The guidelines for air conditioner ratings exist to help you choose the best equipment for your home and budget to minimize cooling bills and maintain comfort. For more information, contact Beyer Boys, providing HVAC services for San Antonio homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Antonio, Texas area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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