When purchasing a new air conditioner for your Glendale home, it’s a good idea to learn some basic information about the different units that are available so you can make a more informed purchase decision. One piece of information that you’ll see on every unit you review from Christian Brothers Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical is the SEER rating of that particular unit. It’s important to understand what the SEER rating is and what it means in terms of the long-term operation of your air conditioner.

What Is a SEER Rating?

The acronym SEER stands for “Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio.” This is a fancy way of measuring how much energy a particular air conditioning unit uses to produce a specified amount of cool air. The cooling output is measured in BTUs, while the energy input is measured in watt-hours. When you divide the cooling output by the energy used, you get the SEER.

SEER ratings are federally mandated for all air conditioning units. One reason they are required is that they provide buyers with an objective means of comparing multiple air conditioning units. Another reason they are important is that they give air conditioner manufacturers a number to shoot for as they seek to improve the efficiency of their units.

What Is a Good SEER Rating?

At Christian Brothers Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical, we sell air conditioning units with varying SEER ratings. The current federal minimum SEER rating is 13, although some individual manufacturers have a higher minimum SEER rating that each of their units must achieve. The highest SEER rating of any unit that’s sold is currently 26, although that unit is prohibitively expensive for most buyers and is unlikely to provide a good return on your investment.

For most buyers, a middle-of-the-road unit with a SEER rating between 14 and 18 will generally provide the right mix of low upfront costs and lower utility costs over the life of the unit. You can consult with an HVAC expert at Christian Brothers Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical to determine which unit is best for you.

Is the SEER Rating the Only Consideration?

While a SEER rating is an important part of buying a good air conditioner, it’s not the only specification you should consider. Another important specification to consider is the size of the air conditioning unit. The size of an air conditioner is measured in tons, which refers to a measurement of how quickly the air extracted from a home by a particular unit could melt a ton of ice. The larger the tonnage rating of a particular unit, the larger the size of the unit.

Determining the tonnage rating that’s right for your home is a task that should be left to the experts at Christian Brothers Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical. Precise calculations using the interior cubic volume of your home need to be made to make this determination. If the calculations are completed incorrectly, you could end up with an air conditioner that’s either too large or too small, which both lead to inefficient operation.

Why Does It Cost More to Buy a More Efficient Unit?

If you want to save on your utility bill, you may be interested in an air conditioner from Christian Brothers Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical with a high SEER rating. You may wonder, though, why air conditioners with high SEER ratings cost more than air conditioners with lower SEER ratings.

One reason, of course, is simple opportunity cost. Buying a more efficient version of just about any appliance tends to cost more because of the built-in potential to save you more money over the life of the unit. However, the ways in which those higher efficiencies are achieved also play an important role in the cost of the unit.

When it comes to air conditioners, the main extra cost is in the more advanced motors present in units with a high SEER rating. An efficient air conditioner uses a two-speed motor to control the pressurization of the refrigerant in the system. This means that the system can automatically reduce its energy intake by switching to a lower speed when less cooling is required. While this is a great benefit in terms of energy usage, it is more complicated than the standard single-speed motor, which means that it costs more for you as the end-user.

Good News for Budget-Conscious Buyers

By any measure, buying a new air conditioner represents a significant investment. If you’re on a tight budget, we at Christian Brothers Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical will bend over backwards to help you find a solution that can fit within your budget. The good news is that if you’ve had your current air conditioner for quite some time, you’re in for some major energy savings even if you buy the least expensive unit available.

This is because the minimum SEER rating has increased over the years. Starting in 1992, the minimum rating was 10. Then, in 2006, it increased to 13. Now, depending on where you live, the minimum SEER rating may be even higher. Therefore, if you’re replacing an older air conditioner, you will see a significant reduction in your home’s energy usage thanks simply to the new standards that are in place. Of course, the best advice is to choose the unit with the highest SEER rating that you can afford to give you even more significant energy savings.

Installation Is Key

No matter how efficient your new air conditioner is, what matters most is that it’s installed correctly. Proper understanding of HVAC installation can make even inexpensive units perform well, thus using less energy. Plus, when a unit is installed correctly, it is more likely to last longer, meaning you will have more years over which to recoup the cost of your initial investment.

On the other hand, a unit with a high SEER rating may not save you much energy if an inexperienced technician installs it. On top of that, if this unit, that has a much higher initial price, dies prematurely, you are left with a much higher annualized cost over the life of the unit. That’s why it’s important to do your research and have an experienced company like Christian Brothers Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical install your new air conditioner.

Helping You Make Smart Moves for Home Comfort

At Christian Brothers Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical, we take your comfort seriously. We also want to help you save money however we can, which is why we offer consultations to help you choose the best home comfort solutions for your budget. Whether that’s choosing new HVAC equipment, repairing your existing equipment, or taking care of ongoing maintenance, we can take care of it all. We can also help you with your home’s plumbing needs, including water heaters, drain cleaning, and more.

For our 40-plus years of existence, we have sought to make our customers’ lives easier and more enjoyable, which is why our customers consistently leave us five-star reviews. For more information on buying a great air conditioner for your home, contact us at Christian Brothers Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical today.