If you’ve ever stumbled upon the words “14 SEER” on your air conditioner, chances are you have no idea what it means. The term 14 SEER consists of the value, the number 14, and the abbreviation, the letters SEER, which is a U.S. rating system that represents the energy efficiency of your air conditioner unit.
The SEER rating system was developed by the U.S. Department of Energy and Air Conditioning in collaboration with the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute. As a result, each air conditioner in North America received a SEER rating. The purpose of the SEER rating is to give consumers insight as to how efficient and sustainable an air conditioner is.
What Does SEER Stand For?
The abbreviation SEER stands for “Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio”. The SEER value tells you the average amount of cooling you receive for each kilowatt of energy you purchase to run your air conditioner.
High vs. Low SEER Rating
Now that we have our answer to the question, “What does 14 SEER mean on an air conditioner?”, we can move on to the meaning of the number 14. The U.S. Department of Energy has set a minimum SEER rating per region as the SEER requirements differ by geographical location. If you live in warmer regions such as the Southeast or Southwest, the minimum required SEER rating should be 14 as opposed to 13 in the cooler North.
Purchasing an air conditioner with a higher SEER could offer greater comfort for your home. This is because higher SEER units are generally equipped with 2-stage or variable-speed compressors as well as a variable-speed blower.
Contrarily, air conditioner units with lower SEER rating are generally single-stage and run on one speed. This results in uneven cooling or warm and colder spots around the house. It can also mean higher humidity levels which in turn can make it feel hotter inside than it is.
The SEER Formula
The SEER rating of an air conditioner is the calculation of the efficiency of the unit. To understand precisely what 14 SEER means on an air conditioner, we should have a look at how the SEER is calculated. The formula for the SEER rating goes as follows: the air conditioner’s total cooling output (BTU) over a typical cooling season divided by its total energy input in Watt-Hours. The above applies to an air conditioner being used in the typical warm weather season.
Bear in mind that the SEER rating is the maximum efficiency rating in near-perfect conditions. This means a high SEER rating such as 20 refers to the maximum efficiency of an air conditioner unit. However, the actual efficiency could be lower depending on external factors such as the size and the level of isolation of your home.
Benefits Of High Seer Rating
Essentially, a higher SEER rating means a higher energy efficiency and contributes to a more sustainable environment. But the SEER rating can also help you with calculating the costs of running your air conditioner. The higher the SEER rating, the lower the costs as you will pay less for each kilowatt of energy per cool output. This is because a high SEER rating means the unit can get the full mileage out of every last kilowatt of energy.
What Is The Optimal SEER Rating?
To determine the desired SEER rating for your home, keep in mind that a higher SEER rating translates to a greater energy efficiency. Air conditioner units older than five years generally have a SEER rating between eight and ten, while modern air conditioners typically have a SEER rating ranging between 13 to 21.
A single digit means approximately a five percent increase in the energy efficiency. That’s why upgrading your air conditioner from 5 SEER to 14 SEER unit means a 45 percent increase in energy efficiency. In turn, this means you could have about 45 percent less energy costs. Even though there is no specific perfect rating, choosing an air conditioner unit with a SEER rating of 13 and over is a great choice.