SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. Simply stated, this is the electrical efficiency of your air conditioning system. Today we have 14 SEER, 16 SEER and even up to 20 SEER systems on the market. The higher the SEER rating, the less electricity the system uses, and the lower the utility bill. As of January 2006, manufacturers will not be able to produce anything less than 13 SEER. Obviously, the higher the SEER rating, the more expensive the system costs up front.
So what SEER rating system should you buy? It depends on your budget. Simply compare the prices and how long it will take you to make up the extra money that you will pay for the Higher SEER. Remember, you're air conditioning system accounts for only 50% to 60% of your total utility bill. If you have two systems in your home, then each system accounts for only 25% to 30% of your total electricity cost. The department of energy claims each SEER point saves approximately 7%-10% of the electricity used by that system. This should help you determine your monthly savings and your payback period.
Department of energy states the homeowner will save approximately 30% savings per year if you change from a 10 Seer to a 13 Seer system. Reliant states approximately 7% to 10% per seer as you go up in SEER. This is based on 2500-3000 square feet.
Note; this does not take into account the insulation of your home, windows, doors, or which way your home faces the sun.
The higher SEER rating will save you on utility bills through the years and will make your home more attractive if you should decide to sell. But remember, a higher SEER rating does not mean more air conditioning. A 4-Ton 10 SEER unit delivers the same amount of BTUs as the 4-Ton 20 SEER, but just for less electricity. The model, the brand determines the quality of the system and you should also look at the electrical consumption labeling in making your system decision.
Proper installation and design of your new system is of the utmost importance when it comes to efficiency and longevity of your new system. When choosing a company to facilitate your installation be sure they have a install team that has many years of experience along with continuing education with installing today’s higher SEER rating systems they are much more complex.