How does a SEER rating affect your home’s energy bills?

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. You can use SEER ratings to measure the amount of energy that is needed to provide a specific amount of cooling to your home. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy-efficient the cooling system is. Standard SEER ratings have increased on cooling equipment over the years as systems become more and more energy-efficient.

Minimum SEER ratings have also increased. Today, a minimum SEER rating of 13 is required for new air conditioning systems, and new heat pumps must meet a minimum rating of 14 SEER.

When you consider that about 40% of your home or small business’s energy costs go into heating and cooling, it’s easy to see how a high-efficiency system can go a long way into cutting down costs.

Our friends at UGI Heating, Cooling & Plumbing have provided the chart below to help illustrate how SEER rating can directly affect your utility bills. 

seer table

Using the chart above, you can see that a SEER 16 unit, for example, is exactly twice as efficient as a SEER 8 unit, and, therefore, costs 50% less to run. So, if the older SEER 8 unit was costing you $100 a month, the new SEER 16 would cost you only $50.

As mentioned above, SEER ratings have increased significantly over the years. The chart below shows the average SEER rating by year of installation.  A system installed in the 1970s probably only has a SEER rating of about 7, whereas one installed in 2005 is probably closer to 13 SEER. 

seer table

So, if your cooling bills seem extremely high, it may be time to consider replacing your old central air system or heat pump with a newer, much more efficient model.