When it comes to air conditioning equipment, few things are more misunderstood than SEER ratings. They’re often misused by homeowners and professionals alike, making it difficult to get to the bottom of the issue. To bring some clarity, let’s take a look at the facts and the myths surrounding this enigmatic term.

The Facts

SEER, which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, is a metric used to measure the efficiency of an air conditioner. It represents the total cooling output of the system during the cooling season divided by the amount of energy it consumes. Essentially, higher SEER ratings mean you get more cooling output for each unit of energy consumed. The minimum SEER rating for new air conditioning equipment varies by region. In Georgia, the standard is set at SEER 14.

It’s also important to note that the listed SEER rating is only a maximum achieved under ideal conditions. Real-world performance often falls short of the listed maximum. Actual efficiency is usually lowest in climates that are particularly hot or humid. Additionally, all air conditioning equipment will have a lower SEER over time due to routine wear and tear.

The Myths

Contrary to popular belief, a higher SEER rating isn’t always better. High-SEER units always use less energy and are more eco-friendly, but they’re also more costly to purchase and repair. The best choice depends on how long you plan to own the system, how often you use it, and other variables. Many people associate lower SEER ratings with lower quality equipment, but that’s a myth as well. Many systems that meet the minimum efficiency guidelines are extremely well-made.

Another common myth is that it’s only worth upgrading if you opt for a system with a very high SEER. High-SEER units are great, but even moving from an obsolete system to the region-minimum SEER 14 may be a significant upgrade. Many older air conditioners only have ratings of 10 or below, so any new system should offer meaningful savings.

If you’re in the market for new air conditioning equipment, it’s important to know the truth about SEER. For more help finding the perfect rating for your needs, let Meeks Heating & Air walk you through all your air conditioner options.

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