Understanding Ratings for A/C Systems
In Orlando’s sultry summers, not just any air conditioner will do. To stay comfortable affordably, you need one that cools reliably and efficiently. Understanding common air conditioner ratings will help you find one.
Seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) – One of the most important air conditioner ratings, this number tells you about the system’s energy efficiency. The higher the SEER, the less energy the system uses to keep you cool. Higher-efficiency systems cost more upfront, but they can save you in the long run by keeping your cooling bills low. While you can find a new air conditioner with a SEER of 20 or higher, higher isn’t always better. A heating and cooling technician can help you determine which SEER best meets your needs.
Energy efficiency ratio (EER) – This number also indicates an air conditioner’s energy efficiency. Unlike SEER, however, it doesn’t take seasonal temperature changes into account. It indicates the system’s efficiency under one specific set of conditions. EER is more valuable to technicians than to homeowners, so it isn’t always listed in a product’s specifications.
Noise rating – If you appreciate peace and quiet or at least want to avoid annoying the neighbors, pay attention to the air conditioner’s noise rating. The lower the decibels (dB) rating, the quieter the system. Most A/Cs range from around 70 dB (vacuum cleaner) to 88 db (food blender). Between 50 and 65 dB (quiet conversation) is as quiet as you’ll find.
Energy Star certification – The federal Energy Star program sets guidelines to help homeowners find energy-efficient appliances. To become Energy Star qualified, a split-system air conditioner must reach at least 15 SEER and 12.5 EER. If efficiency is particularly important to you, look for systems that have achieved Energy Star Most Efficient standing for the current year. In 2016, these were systems that reached at least 18 SEER and 13 EER. An appliance’s Most Efficient status is indicated only in promotional literature and not on the product itself.
For pro guidance on air conditioner ratings and help choosing your new system, contact us at Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions in Orlando.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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