SEER or EER: Which One is Important?

Like anyone else, you too want to spend your hard-earned dollars wisely. In our last blog post we talked about the difference between the SEER and EER ratings on central air conditioners. So now you’re ready to buy a new AC unit for your home, and are wondering which is more important between the SEER and the EER rating. Well wonder no more. This post from GAMA Air will clear it all up, so that whether you live in Beverly Hills, Culver City, Mar Vista, Miracle Mile, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Bel Air, Westwood, Downtown Los Angeles, Vernon, Huntington Park, Sherman Oaks, Encino or a surrounding community, you’ll make an educated decision about your new central heating and cooling system.

The downsides of the SEER Rating

SEER is a useful measurement of the efficiency of AC units. And since it is standardized across the country for central air units, then it is a valuable tool for comparing ‘apples to apples’, when you pit one unit against another. However, it can be misleading.

What many people don’t realize is that the SEER rating is calculated using a very specific set of test parameters that cover a pre-defined range of temperatures. The problem with this is that the SEER rating does not take into account in what climate region you live. For example, think of the average summer temperature around Beverly Hills, Culver City, Mar Vista, Miracle Mile, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Bel Air, Westwood, Downtown Los Angeles, Vernon, Huntington Park, Sherman Oaks, Encino compared with places in the U.S. that are infamous for record breaking highs.

So, although SEER is a universal measurement of air conditioner efficiency, it can be misleading in the sense that it may not truly indicate what the efficiency of the unit will be where you personally live.

Why the SEER Rating is important

Since the SEER rating is a measurement of efficiency, when you are shopping around for a new central air system you want to pay attention to the stated SEER for each unit. The higher the SEER, the less energy it takes to give you the advertised cooling power. And if you know the SEER of the AC unit you currently have, then you can calculate how much money you will save in electricity costs if you buy a new unit with a higher SEER.

For example, if your current system is over 15 years old, then it is probably a SEER 8 (even if it was higher when it was new, the SEER degrades as a system ages and has problems). If you install a SEER 13 system, which is the minimum allowable in the northern States, you will save 38% on electricity bills. However, if you decide to get a premium efficiency air conditioner with a SEER 20 rating, the savings goes up to 60%. And since your central air conditioning system accounts for up to 50% of your home’s total electrical usage, then 60% savings on that is significant chunk.

To be completely honest, the exact amount of money you save will depend, of course, on exactly what your climate is and what will be the true energy input to output ratio of your AC unit.

The advantages of the EER Rating

The EER Rating is an objective, set standard that can be used to compare two air conditioning units without worrying about the different ranges of summer temperatures throughout the country. So EER is a more technical, objective means of rating an air conditioner’s efficiency. Two different brands of AC units may have the same SEER rating, but may not have the same EER rating. And don’t forget, the higher the EER, the higher the efficiency of the air conditioner.

So now let’s say you’ve been researching air conditioning systems, you’ve narrowed down the field and it is time to make a decision. Stay tuned for the last part of this discussion to know when to use SEER vs. EER, and what is more important for you, the homeowner.

Having trouble with your AC right now? Call GAMA Air at (310) 651-6936 or use our online form to schedule a visit at a time convenient to you. We guarantee your satisfaction 100%.

Need to ask someone a quick question? Visit our Ask an Expert page and get a quick answer from the resident expert here at GAMA Air.

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