Seer Rating, What it Means & How much can Raleigh Residents Save?

Seer Chart

SEER rating are the method used to describe the efficiency of a particular equipment system and our Raleigh air conditioning team wants you to know what that means and how it affects you.

What does SEER mean for Raleigh residents?

SEER stands for “Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio”. Air Conditioning systems purchased today typically range from 10.00 SEER to 18.00 SEER. If you have a home and the current system is 10-15 years old, you may have a system that ranges from 6.0 SEER to 10.00 SEER. Of course at the time it was installed, 10.00 SEER was considered “High Efficiency”. Today, with all the focus on conservation and energy savings, that “High Efficiency 10.00 SEER” from 10-15 years ago is growing obsolete.

In the chart, the left column indicates operating costs and the gradually decreasing scale shows how with a higher SEER rating (numbers along bottom of chart) the operating costs are reduced. In essence, if you would have spent $100 to operate an 8.00 SEER system, by installing a 14.00 SEER system, your operating costs would drop to $57.00 as opposed to the $100 spent operating the lower efficiency system. These are estimates only, and designed to show that with the higher the SEER rating, the lower the operating costs.

If you have a 6.0 SEER, and you installed a new 12.00 SEER or 13.00 SEER system, you would cut your power consumption in half (in regard to your AC System). Considering that in many cases the central air system represents the largest draw on power in your home, any improvement is a wise decision.

The systems today are very advanced as you move up in the efficiency range. They cost a bit more at initial purchase, but when you calculate the energy savings -vs- dollars spent they pay for themselves fairly quickly.

Lets look at an example:

Current system is 6.0 SEER and power bill runs $150.00 per month.

A 10.00 SEER system is $1500.00 and your power bill may be $125.00 per month.

Upgrade to a 14.00 SEER system for an additional $800.00 and your power bill drops to $90.00 per month.

The price between the 10.00 SEER and the 14.00 SEER is $800.00. The monthly savings equate to $35.00 per month (14.00 SEER  -vs- 10.00 SEER). Take the $800.00 difference and divide that by the $35.00 savings and you would pay off the improved system through energy savings in 22.86 months. Less than 2 years.

No matter what, you were going to replace the system with at least a 10.00 SEER system.

Improved power bill, increased value of home, and your system won’t be obsolete in 2 years. Wise decision. Bear in mind, the ratio of savings varies from household to household as people live differently in each case. The example given above is strictly as an example and there is no guarantee that you will see that exact example in your home.

High SEER Requirements for 2006

Like many consumer products that use energy, air conditioners and heat pumps are manufactured to meet or exceed minimum efficiency standards set by the U.S. Department of Energy. After nearly a decade with 10 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) as the minimum efficiency, January 23, 2006 marks the mandated increase to 13 SEER.

Who will this affect?

The 13 SEER minimum applies to all new equipment manufactured on or after January 23, 2006. You may continue to use your current system indefinitely, even if it operates below 13 SEER, but when it’s time to replace your system, only 13 SEER or higher models will be available.

Higher SEER means cost-saving energy efficiency for Triangle residents

For many homeowners, a 13 SEER air conditioner or heat pump will save money on each month’s electric bill. Exactly how much you can save will depend on the efficiency of your current system. For example, a 13 SEER product:

  • Delivers about 23% energy savings compared to 10 SEER models
  • Delivers about 8% energy savings compared to 12 SEER models

Actual savings will depend on the age, efficiency and condition of the unit being replaced, but if you are currently considering a new air conditioner or heat pump, it makes sense to start saving now with a 13 SEER product. Carrier offers several heat pumps and air conditioners that meet and exceed the 13 SEER requirement—even up to 21 SEER.

Ratings works like gas mileage on your car.

The higher the SEER or HSPF number, the higher the efficiency and the greater the energy savings.* For instance, if your old unit is 10 to 15 years old, the efficiency rating could be a wasteful 6 SEER. This chart gives you a sample of you how much you could save by upgrading to the Trane or Goodman system that fits your needs.

Savings percentages based on national averages; may vary according to efficiency of current unit and temperature zone location.

Some other Energy Saving Tips:

  • Seal the windows in your home around the frames
  • Consider dual pane insulated windows when you opt to replace your current windows
  • Improve your insulation factors in your attic to R-30
  • Seal the current duct system in your home with tape, fab and sealants (mastick)
  • Improve the style of registers you currently have for better “Throw”
  • Make sure your cold air return is large enough for the system (SEE BELOW) 
  • Install ceiling fans throughout your home
  • Keep your filter cleaned and changed monthly
  • Keep your unit serviced. Maintenance plans with your local air conditioning contractor will do wonders for your system. At least twice per year.

Raleigh Area HVAC Team Here to Save you Energy and Money

R & S Mechanical Heating, Air Conditioning & Commercial Refrigeration is now scheduling free, no obligation in-home estimates, with one of our Home Comfort Specialist for a replacement of air conditioning and heating systems, Contact us at 919.302.8956 or drop us a message in our contact form


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