The SEER rating was invented by the heating and cooling industry to measure the efficiency of central air conditioners.
The SEER rating (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) was invented by the heating and cooling industry to measure the efficiency of central air conditioners. It is essentially a measure of how much energy is needed to create a certain cooling output (BTU). The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the unit. Since 2006, all new cooling systems must have a SEER rating of 13 or better (older units stand at around 8 or less. The best units are pushing a 20 SEER rating).
New Rating Requirements
Until the present federal standard, cooling systems needed a SEER rating of 10. So the odds are that your AC system has a rating close to that, if you bought it when it first hit the market. It likely would not get such a good score now. Still, regardless of present efficiency, from 10 to 13 may not seem like a very big change, but it will improve efficiency by 30% and save a significant amount of money.
It is worth mentioning that Energy Star-certified cooling systems must have a SEER rating of 14 or higher. Also, room AC units were exempted by the latest rules, so they are likely to have a rating, if new, of 10. The former law did, and still does, apply.
Saving Energy throughout the Home
Yet the air conditioning unit is not the only place a house can waste energy, although the cooling load is often the largest single draw on power in the home. Improved insulation, clean registers, sealed ducts, ceiling fans and regularly cleaning and changing the filter will all ease the burden on a cooling system. Windows are another key upgrade homeowners can make. Replacing old, dated, single-pane windows with newer, double-glazed windows can make a sizable difference.
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