Increasing your air conditioner’s SEER rating can increase your energy savings.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, your HVAC system takes more power to run than any other appliance in your home. So how do you know if you’re getting the maximum energy savings you can from your air conditioner?

If you know the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio or SEER for your unit, then it’s easy to figure out.

What is SEER?

SEER indicates how much energy your A/C uses for cooling. The higher the SEER, the less energy it takes to cool your home.

The minimum required SEER rating in Colorado is 13, but some air conditioners and HVAC systems have ratings as high as 25 SEER.

SEER is not a set number; it fluctuates based on changes in your air conditioning system and the weather. The SEER shown on your A/C is the maximum rating for your unit. For instance, a system with a 13 rating means its highest is 13–at times it will be lower. Think of it as miles per gallon for your car; just like you have a higher MPG when maintaining a constant speed, you have a better SEER when the temperature in your home is more consistent.

A higher SEER value does mean a bigger price tag on the air conditioner, but it also means bigger savings on your monthly energy bills.

How do I find my SEER rating?

You can find your SEER rating on the yellow and black EnergyGuide sticker on the side of your air conditioner. Your SEER is the larger number that’s usually found over a scale that shows a range of values from lowest to highest efficiency.

If you don’t have a sticker, visit your A /C manufacturer’s website. Some include the SEER value as part of their model numbers. If you can’t find a SEER rating for your unit, then it’s definitely time for an upgrade; ratings have been around since the 1990s.

Is a higher SEER worth the money?

Maybe not. The initial cost for an air conditioner with a better SEER value is going to be proportionately higher ($2,000-$4,000 more) than lower SEER models. In some cases, you will recoup these costs on your monthly energy bills, but that’s not always the case. Our advice is to work with a reputable HVAC company to determine what size air conditioner is right for your home and purchase the model with the highest SEER you can afford.

If you’re excited to do the math, you can calculate how much energy and money you’ll save at a variety of SEER levels using the U.S. Department of Energy’s Cost-Savings Calculators for Energy Efficient Products. You can compare this number to the difference between SEER ratings to see how long it will take to recoup the cost.

Finding an air conditioner with the SEER value that works for you is just the first step in maximizing energy efficiency. There are lots of other ways you can save energy in your home in the summer months.

If you’re unsure of whether to buy a new air conditioner with a higher SEER value, feel free to contact Denver’s HVAC experts at Summit Heating, A/C, Plumbing & Electrical. We can schedule a free evaluation to help you determine the best way to keep you comfortable during the summer.

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