The truth about different SEER levels.. learn how to decide what is right for you. Is one better than the other? Navigating the waters of HVAC system replacement is not an easy task. With terms such as SEER, MERV, Heat Pump, Furnace, Condenser, Variable Speed.. it is no wonder so many consumers dread the purchase of a new HVAC system.
What does SEER Level or SEER Rating Mean?
SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, measures the AC or heat pump cooling efficiency. You can compare the SEER rating to the mpg rating on your car. Highway driving, you should have the highest mpg and highest efficiency. Same applies to your SEER rating. The higher the SEER, the better the efficiency.
What is a Good SEER Rating?
By current standards, the minimum allowable SEER rating on newly installed equipment is 14 SEER. There IS a difference between a 14 and 20+ SEER system. It has been documented that increasing your SEER rating can save you anywhere from 7-48% on your utility costs. While the installation cost may increase with each SEER level, adding the cost savings over the life span of the HVAC system shows how it can pay for itself.
When Should I Not Opt for a Higher SEER Rating?
If you are planning on selling your home in the next few months, you may opt to be more conservative with your spending on a new HVAC system. Some home buyers see a great benefit in a higher SEER rating. However, it is not often that this is something that takes priority as an upgrade in a pre-existing home. Review the expenditures you are making to prepare your home for sale, and weigh the upgrades to make your home most appealing. A new HVAC system provides great appeal, whether it be a 16 SEER or 20 SEER.
When Should I Consider the Highest SEER?
If you are planning on staying in your home for 3 years or more, consider increasing your SEER level when installing a new HVAC system. The cost savings will provide you great benefit. Your air quality and comfort will be dramatically increased as well. With a savings of up to 48%, you can't go wrong installing a better HVAC system in your home. If you are in your "forever home", don't opt for a lesser SEER unit. Even with the cost increase, you will enjoy and be thankful for the added benefits. Do yourself the favor.
SEER rating is often overlooked and not explained fully. Many homeowners are cost conscious on the front end. Consider the fuel efficiency of the next vehicle you buy. There are the gas guzzlers such as large SUV's and trucks, and the higher efficiency models like th hybrid vehicles of today. Before you go into the car dealership, you know that you would/ would not even consider a vehicle that offers a 10 mpg average. Same should apply to your HVAC system. You average system should provide you 10+ years of comfort… that is a long time of high energy costs.
Higher SEER Rating Means Increased Comfort
The truth about different SEER levels include an increase in your comfort. Equipment with a lower SEER level are generally single stage. This means that they will turn on and off more frequently possibly creating hot spots into your home and creating higher humidity. Higher SEER rated systems often have 2 stage variable speed compressors. These systems may "run" longer, however they save energy by utilizing lower speeds and only increasing when necessary to push more air into the home. This often provides a more even air flow.
I'm still confused.. What do I choose?
There is no "right" SEER level to purchase. 14,16,17,18 and so forth… they all offer different benefits. The best solutions is to discuss and weight the benefits of the various efficiency ratings with your trusted HVAC expert. Trust them to guide you in the right direction. Understanding that the cost up front may be higher, but the benefits last the life of the system is important. Remember that your HVAC system is the largest mechanical investment in your home. Don't purchase on price alone. The installation of your system may perhaps be even more important than the system you choose.
At Guardian, your comfort, time, and budget are important to us. Providing you with the information necessary to make the best choice for your home, family and comfort is how we create long lasting relationships with your customers. We listen to your needs, and provide you with the tools necessary to make the best educated decision for your home. Contact the experts at Guardian for your FREE In Home HVAC Replacement Estimate. Whether you are replacing today, or just preparing for the future, a Guardian expert will help you navigate the truth about different systems. Schedule today!