When it comes to buying a new air conditioner, the SEER rating is one of the main attributes used for comparing different models. But, if you don’t know what a good SEER rating is, then you don’t even have a good benchmark to start with. But don’t worry. We’re going to help you with that!
Let’s go over what constitutes a good SEER rating, but first let’s go over what a SEER rating is exactly.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio
“SEER” stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. To put it simply, it’s the ratio that is reached when testing an air conditioner’s efficiency. This ratio reveals how much energy it takes to keep the target area cooled (a home for example) over a complete cooling season. The higher the number is, the less amount of energy was required. Therefore, the higher the number, the more efficient the air conditioner is. To go more in depth on this topic, you can check out our “What is a SEER Rating” post.
Now that you know what a SEER rating is, let’s go over what would be classified as a good SEER rating for your air conditioner.
And the Answer is…
We believe that any rating above 14 is good. Why is this you ask?
Well, the minimum SEER rating allowed for air conditioner manufacturers in Northern states is 14 and the minimum allowed in Southern states is 15 (due to longer, hotter Summers). Prior to these standardized minimum SEER ratings, we had air conditioners with ratings under 10…well below 10. So, the advancements that have been made recently in the air conditioning world are pretty extraordinary.
Because of these advancements, when most people are upgrading their ac units today, they are REALLY upgrading. Most people are going from SEER ratings as low as 8 up to 14-15 as a minimum. That’s almost a 100% increase in efficiency!
To sum it up, anyone buying a new air conditioner today is getting an air conditioner with a good SEER rating.
What SEER Rating Should You Buy?
As you can see, today’s standard SEER ratings are very good and they only get better the higher they go. So, when it comes to buying a new air conditioner, choosing the rating you want comes down to preference. The higher the rating, the more efficient the air conditioner is, which equates to more energy savings. But also remember: the higher the rating, the higher the price tag for the unit is going to be. You can expect to pay more upfront for the ac unit as you climb the SEER ratings ladder.
So are you willing to sacrifice a higher upfront cost for long-term savings in the future? If so, go with the highest SEER rating you are comfortable with purchasing.
What is the Highest SEER Rating?
Speaking of high SEER ratings, you are probably wondering what the highest available rating is. As of today, the highest rating for a central air conditioner is 26. That’s pretty high! Then there are mini-split air conditioners which are the most efficient air conditioners available today. Their ratings can be as high as 38. That’s super high! And as technology continues to advance, we can expect for these ratings to advance as well.
All of Today’s SEER Ratings are “Good”
As we wrap this up, remember this. No matter what SEER rating you decide to go with, you are getting a good SEER rating with today’s air conditioning standards. You really can’t go wrong. You can only go “better” as the SEER rating increases.
We hope this information has helped you. Feel free to leave any questions or comments below!