You may have heard the term many times, but what exactly is SEER?
The efficiency of air conditioners is often rated by the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) which is defined by the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute in its 2008 standard AHRI 210/240,Performance Rating of Unitary Air-Conditioning and Air-Source Heat Pump Equipment. A similar standard is the European seasonal energy efficiency ratio (ESEER).
The SEER rating of a unit is the cooling output during a typical cooling-season divided by the total electric energy input during the same period. The higher the unit’s SEER rating the more energy efficient it is. In the U.S., the SEER is the ratio of cooling in British thermal unit (BTU) to the energy consumed in watt-hours. The coefficient of performance (COP), a more universal dimensionless measure of efficiency, is discussed in the following section.
Maximum SEER ratings
Today there are mini-split (ductless) air conditioner units available with SEER ratings up to 27.2. Traditional AC systems with ducts have maximum SEER ratings slightly below these levels. Also, practically, central systems will have an achieved energy efficiency ratio 10-20% lower than the nameplate rating due to the duct-related losses. During the 2014 AHR Expo, Mitsubishi unveiled a new mini-split ductless AC unit with a SEER rating of 30.
Additionally, there are ground-source residential AC units with SEER ratings up to 75. However, ground source heat pump effective efficiency is reliant on the temperature of the ground or water source used. Hot climates have a much higher ground or surface water temperature than in cold climates and therefore will not be able to achieve such efficiencies. Moreover, the ARI rating scheme for ground source heat pumps allows them to largely ignore required pump power in their ratings, making the achievable SEER values often practically lower than the highest efficiency air-source equipment—particularly for air cooling. There are a variety of technologies that will allow SEER and EER ratings to increase further in the near future. Some of these technologies include rotary compressors, inverters, DC brushless motors, variable-speed drives and integrated systems
To make it simple, the answer is:
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) measures air conditioning and heat pump cooling efficiency, which is calculated by the cooling output for a typical cooling season divided by the total electric energy input during the same time frame. A higher SEER rating means greater energy efficiency.
Do you have an efficient system? Upgrading your older units to a higher SEER Air Conditioner can save you money on your electric bill and make you eligible for Tax Credits and Rebates
Are you interested in learning more? Schedule a free consultation with one of our Comfort Consultants.
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