SEER measures the ratio of cooling capacity to power input, and the higher the rating, the more efficient the air conditioner. “The higher the SEER rating, the more work you’re getting out of the equipment for the same dollar amount of energy,” says Daniel Armstrong, owner of Armstrong Mechanical Services in Hopewell, Virginia. “The lower the SEER rating, the lower the production.”
SEER ratings have gradually increased in recent years, so a homeowner might find great value in replacing a 10- to 15-year-old system with a more efficient, newer model. Even entry-level models now are much more efficient than standard models of decades past.
Nationwide, EPA standards require all air conditioners manufactured after Jan. 1, 2015, to have a minimum rating of 14 SEER. Previously, all systems manufactured after Jan. 23, 2006, had to achieve at least a 13 SEER rating.
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