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What SEER System is Right for My Home?

This is a very common question that many homeowners have struggled with when talking about replacing their old air conditioning & heating unit.

Now, the minimum is 14 SEER based on the national requirements. SEER rating options can run up to 25 and the higher the rating, the greater the price tag.

What exactly does SEER stand for?

 SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio – an efficiency rating of the typical air conditioner cooling output divided by the input of the total electric energy.

Simply put, the higher the SEER rating of an air conditioner unit, the more efficient the unit is.

What SEER Rating You Should Choose to Save More Money in Energy Bills

There are actually lots of determining factors to come up with a decision but there’s only one thing you should keep in mind: the higher the SEER rating of a unit, the slower the energy meter will run and the lower the SEER of an air conditioner unit, the faster the energy meter will run.

That means, AC systems with lower SEER rating can give you a bigger energy bill every month.

Most AC units that are 10 years older have a 10 SEER rating at best. However, if they’re in bad condition, then they are probably running at less than 10 SEER rating.

14 SEER vs 20 SEER

Typically, the minimum SEER rating used to replace an old 8 to 10 SEER system is with a 14 SEER heat pump or air conditioner. Upgrading from a 10 SEER to a 14 SEER alone will yield a 29% savings @ $136 a year in South Carolina. Keep in mind, your home’s thermal rating also plays a part in decreasing utility consumption.

Five Ways to Improve the Thermal Rating of Your Home to Maximize Your 14 Seer AC Unit

Consider making these home improvements to improve thermal rating:

  • Consider resealing and double insulating your ducts

  • Install solar screens and Low E windows

  • Install exhaust fan in the attic

  • Use radiant barriers for your roof

  • Double insulate your ceiling

How Proper Location & Installation of Equipment Affect Efficiency

If your unit is installed correctly or if any installation problems are properly fixed, there is no doubt that it will perform efficiently for many years with minimum routine maintenance.

On the other hand, most air conditioners are not installed property and because of that, modern air conditioner units labeled as “energy efficient” can perform almost as inefficient as the older AC models.

That’s why, regardless of how energy efficient your AC unit is, make sure that the proper installation process is followed by your contractor when installing new AC systems.

  • Make sure your contractor allows adequate indoor space for new installation, repair of the unit, and maintenance, and installs an access door in your furnace or duct for easy maintenance of the evaporator coil.

  • They should use duct-sizing methodology.

  • Your contractor should ensure that there’s an appropriate amount of supply registers to provide cool air and an appropriate amount of return air registers to efficiently carry the warm air of the house back to the AC unit.

  • They should seal all ducts using duct mastic and insulate attic ducts heavily.

  • Make sure they install the duct work in a well-conditioned space, wherever possible as long as not in the attic.

  • If possible, they should place the condensing unit in a location where the noise won’t keep you or the neighborhood awake at night.

  • Place the unit where no nearby objects can block its airflow.

  • Your contractor should verify that the AC unit has the exact airflow rate and refrigerant charge specified by the manufacturer.

  • Locate the thermostat away from any heat sources, including supply registers or windows.

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