What Is a SEER Rating, and How Can It Save You Money? - Sun Heating & Cooling, Inc.

What Is a SEER Rating, and How Can It Save You Money?


The SEER scale is an easy way to measure your air conditioner’s efficiency to ensure you’re getting your money’s worth. Learn more:

What is “SEER”?

The most common efficiency measure is the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). This is a measure of how much energy your A/C uses to cool your home – well, if you’re really into the science, it’s the “amount of cooling output, divided by the total electrical input of energy.” The energy input is measured in kilowatts, and the cooling output is measured in British thermal units (BTUs).

1 BTU is the amount of energy needed to cool 1 pound of water, by 1 degree F, in 1 hour. So, a 10,000 BTU air conditioner would be able to cool 10,000 pounds of water by 1 degree in 1 hour … It shows how powerful your air conditioner really is!

Doing the math

For example:

10,000 BTU air conditioner ÷ 1 kWh = 10 SEER

10,000 BTU air conditioner ÷ 0.6 kWh = 16 SEER

The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient your air conditioner is. In this example, you can see that these two air conditioners have equal cooling output. But here’s the difference: the 10 SEER system needs 1 kilowatt-hour to produce that output, while the superior 16 SEER system only needs 0.6 kilowatt-hours to produce that same amount of cool.

That means the 16 SEER system is 40% more efficient!


We know the math is a bit headache-inducing, but stick around for this next part … Let’s talk about how that affects COST! We have slightly higher electric rates in Oakland County than the national average. 1 kWh of energy costs about 18 cents. And the national average is 14 cents.[1]

We know that doesn’t sound like much, but the differences really add up over time. (The same way that finding cheaper gas, milk, or eggs does!)

So, what you can do to fix that issue as much as possible, is invest in a more efficient system with a higher SEER rating and save money over time! How much money would you end up saving, say, per month? In the summer, your A/C will use about 50 kW of power a day since it’s so dang hot outside!

With the 10 SEER air conditioner, you’ll spend $9 a day. With the 16 SEER air conditioner, you’ll spend just over $5 a day!

Then, take that out to the yearly level, and you’re talking $900 versus $500 … $400 annual savings for having a 16 SEER system instead of a 10 SEER!

Learn more

Find out even more about SEER ratings and how they can save you money on your energy bills by contacting a Sun technician. We can talk more about your specific needs and situation after an in-home estimate on a new air conditioner. Just contact us online or call now: (248) 986-1506

[1] Find Energy

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