SEER Ratings 101

When you’re choosing an air conditioner, one of the things that you are likely to check is the SEER rating. The SEER rating can tell you a lot about the efficiency of the air conditioner you’re considering, but does it tell you the whole story? Here is what you need to know about SEER ratings and how they should impact your air conditioner selection.

What exactly is a SEER rating?

SEER is short for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. Although many people associate SEER ratings with air conditioners, they are also listed on heat pumps as well. The SEER rating is determined by using an equation: cooling air output during a typical season divided by the amount of energy used by the system, also referred to as the energy input. This figure essentially says how much cool air is produced by an air conditioning system and how much energy it requires to produce it.

How can I tell if a SEER rating is good or bad?

The higher the SEER rating, the more efficiency an air conditioner is. Most states have minimum requirements for SEER ratings and don’t allow units rated below 13 or 14. Ratings go as high as 25 SEER. As technology advances, higher SEER ratings are likely.

Should I always buy the highest SEER available?

Because the cost of air conditioners increase with higher SEER ratings, you have to balance the cost of the unit with the savings you are likely to achieve on your energy bills. If you have an old air conditioner, then upgrading to even a 14 SEER unit can lead to significant savings. Keep in mind that SEER ratings represent the maximum efficiency of a unit and don’t mean that the air conditioner functions at that level at all times. Other factors can also impact your air conditioner’s efficiency.


For help selecting and installing a new air conditioner in Tucson, call B&J Refrigeration. We provide both commercial and residential air conditioning services, from installation to repairs. Talk to one of our pros today by calling (520) 308-6722.