Contrary to popular belief, a high SEER system might not be the right fit for your home. SEER is the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. SEER is calculated as the ratio of cooling output divided by energy use and averaged out over a typical summer season. SEER ranges from 13 to 25. Some states require a SEER of 13 while others require 14. South Carolina requires a SEER of 14 for all new systems in the state.
Here are some facts to know about SEER ratings.
1. If you have a system that is at least 10 years old, the average SEER rating you're getting with your old system is likely around an 8 or possibly a 10 at best. This is because changes in technology have made HVAC systems more energy-efficient over time. This means a SEER 14 system is going to be much more energy-efficient than the existing system in your home.
2. The higher the SEER rating, the more expensive the system. While many claim that a high SEER system pays for itself in utility bill savings, this actually depends on a number of factors including the size of your home, for starters.
3. SEER rating is a maximum value, as in a SEER 21 system gets a SEER rating up to 21. In this case, it is much like miles per gallon on your car. There is a maximum value the car is capable of reaching, though most people never drive in perfect conditions to achieve that maximum MPG.
4. When you buy a high SEER system, you could be buying a unit with more capacity than you need and never reach its maximum possible capacity.
5. High SEER units are expensive and can cost up to $4,000 more than the base SEER model required. Even if spread over a 15 year lifespan, most people will barely break even on monthly utility savings vs the additional cost of the high SEER system
6. Repairs on a high SEER system are more expensive as the parts and components tend to be more expensive.
7. Lower SEER equipment is just as well made as high SEER equipment. What you're paying so much extra for isn't quality but rather energy-efficiency.
How Much SEER is Right for Your Home?
This is best evaluated by a trustworthy HVAC company like Carolina Comfort Systems. We'll never try to sell you a higher SEER than what you need and we'll give you the straight truth on the factors that influence how much SEER will benefit you. These factors include:
- Size of your home
- Direction home faces
- Amount of shade home gets
- Color of your roof
- Whether you have a basement or slab
- How hot it gets in the summer
- How cold it gets in the winter
- Your geographic area
Most homes do great with a SEER 14 or SEER 16 system, depending on the factors listed above. If your home currently has a system 10 years old or older, moving up to a 14 SEER system will be a great improvement in energy-efficiency and savings already. Call Carolina Comfort Systems and we'll do a full evaluation to help you pinpoint which SEER rating will give you the best bang for your buck.