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Learn About How to Use SEER and EER Ratings


Are you considering a central air conditioner upgrade? Is energy efficiency your number one priority? If so, you’ll want to know more about EER ratings and SEER ratings. Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) are calculations used to determine central air conditioner efficiency in Elgin, IL homes.

What Can These Ratings Tell Me?

EER ratings measure the energy efficiency of a central air conditioner only on the hottest days of summer when the system is operating at peak capacity. Measurements are taken when the temperature is 95°F or higher.

By contrast, SEER ratings measure the overall efficiency of a central air conditioner from the beginning of the cooling season to the end. Measurements are taken between 65°F and 104°F to replicate temperature changes from early spring through late summer.

How Can SEER and EER Ratings Help Me?

SEER and EER ratings measure different things. Nevertheless, both ratings must be taken into account when considering an AC installation. If summer temperatures where you live routinely reach 95°F or more, look for the highest EER you can get. In locations with a moderate climate, look for the highest SEER you can get.

The Department of Energy (DOE) defines EER as “a measure of how efficiently a cooling system will operate when the outdoor temperature is at a specific level.” In this case, that level is 95°F.

A good EER rating should be 6.0 at the very least. Units with EERs between 9.4 and 10.7 are recommended for Elgin homeowners who want high-efficiency cooling without the high monthly price.

Air conditioners with high EERs cost more upfront than their cheaper counterparts with lower EERs. However, a more expensive system with a higher EER will make it up to you with consistent, high-efficiency cooling.

If you install a central air conditioning system with a high EER, you should be able to recoup your investment within a few years. Meanwhile, you’ll enjoy the seamless indoor comfort that only a state-of-the-art system can give you.

Are These Ratings Reliable?

BTU ratings are less trustworthy than EER and SEER ratings. Unscrupulous manufacturers have been known to inflate air conditioner BTU ratings just to get rid of inventory.

You should still check the BTU ratings of systems that interest you, and you should still include that information in your fact-finding mission. Just include a few grains of salt as well.

Using SEER and EER Ratings

Be careful when you compare air conditioner efficiency ratings. Always compare the SEER rating of one air conditioner with the SEER rating of another air conditioner. Don’t compare the SEER of an air conditioner with the EER of another unit. If you do, the ratings will be meaningless.

SEER and EER ratings tend to stick together. If the SEER rating for a central air conditioner is high, then its corresponding EER rating will probably be high as well.

EER ratings

EER ratings are important if you live in a region that’s predominantly hot and humid. EER ratings are derived from air conditioners that run continuously at full tilt while carrying a full load. In that situation, a higher EER means a more efficient system.

SEER ratings

SEER ratings are important if you live in an area with a moderate climate, well-defined seasons, and a wide range of temperatures in spring and summer. SEER ratings factor in the energy used for starting and stopping the unit. The higher the SEER, the more efficient an AC will be.

Get Federal Tax Credits for Energy-efficient Purchases

Investing in a high-efficiency AC installation could entitle you to federal tax credits and other financial rewards. These incentives are designed to encourage consumers to make energy-efficient purchases. Your HVAC contractor can tell you more about it.

If you’re an Elgin homeowner, quality air conditioning systems are available close to home. Visit us online at Oncourse Heating, Cooling, Plumbing to explore the latest and greatest in high-efficiency AC installation options.

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