Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, which is defined by the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute as the rating of a unit’s cooling output in BTU’s (British Thermal Unit) during a typical warm season divided by the total electric energy input in watt-hours required to produce that output. This cooling output to total energy required to produce it ratio has become the standardized method to rate the efficiency of cooling systems. The higher the SEER rating – the better energy efficiency of the air conditioning system.
The United States government mandated that all residential air conditioning systems sold in the U.S. as of January 2006 must have a SEER rating of at least 13. Central air conditioning systems with a SEER rating of 14 or more can be promoted as Energy Star qualified. Older cooling systems waste more energy during operation. For example, an older system with a SEER rating of 9 that’s replaced by a system with a SEER rating of 13 can reduce power consumption by 30% on an annual basis. That’s big savings in electrical costs to the homeowner.