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Buying a New HVAC System: What is SEER?

HomeBuying a New HVAC System: What is SEER?

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When you’re ready for a new HVAC system, one of your biggest considerations will be what SEER rating to choose for your new system. Higher SEER systems cost more money but are more energy efficient. Is a high SEER system always worth the cost? Based on the size of your home and your use of the system, it might not be. Here’s the scoop on SEER and how to evaluate what SEER rating is right for your home.

What is SEER?

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This ratio is derived from measuring the cooling output of a system divided by the amount of energy it used to provide that cooling. It’s a measure of energy efficiency. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy efficient the system is. SEER has a large range from as low as 13 to as high as 33 for some systems. That’s a huge range! How do you know what to pick? First, the minimum SEER rating required for systems in the state of South Carolina is 14, so you will be looking at a minimum 14 SEER system. From there, you would look at other factors such as the size of your home and the way you use your cooling system. Here in SC, many people use their cooling system for five to six months out of the year. For an average 2,000 square foot home with five to six months of use, a 14 or 16 SEER unit will give good energy efficiency and should save you money on your utility bill over your old system. For that same home, a 20 SEER system could cost as much as double while only providing a few dollars more savings on your utility bill.

Higher SEER Systems

Another factor to consider is that the higher SEER systems have more advanced technology to reach those efficiency levels. More advanced technology costs more to maintain and more to repair when something breaks or needs replaced. There are cases where a higher SEER system might make good sense as an option. For example, if you have a fairly large home, a higher SEER system can save you more money than average as your system needs to cool down a larger space, which generally requires more energy and effort. Another case where a higher SEER system might be a good option is if you live in an area where you use your cooling system more than six months of the year. The more you use your cooling system throughout the year, the more you can save with a higher SEER system. Additionally, a higher SEER system can often provide more consistent comfort and better dehumidification.

Making the decision of what SEER rating to choose can seem overwhelming. Don’t let it be! The experts at SC Plumbing, Heating and Air can evaluate your home’s cooling needs including square footage, nearby shade, roof color and other factors that impact your home’s cooling efficiency to help narrow down what SEER ratings are most beneficial for your home. Armed with that information, you can then make an informed decision on the SEER rating and system that is right for you.

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When you are ready to replace your HVAC system, give us a call. We’ll be with you through every step of the process.