We all love air conditioning in the summertime; except, of course, when we see our electric bill! The air conditioning systems we grew up with were extreme energy hogs…and we usually paid a price for the cool comfort they delivered. Fortunately, times have changed, and we can enjoy substantial energy savings by installing and using today’s more technically advanced and efficient cooling systems.
The efficiency at which air conditioners produce cooling is referred to as its SEER rating. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and is a ratio of the amount of cooling produced (BTU) divided by the amount of electricity (watts) used. The higher the SEER, the greater the air conditioner’s efficiency.
Older air conditioning systems have a SEER rating of 10 or under. Today’s more efficient air conditioning systems have SEER ratings as high as 23. The United States now requires that residential air conditioning systems manufactured after 2005 have a minimum SEER rating of 13 (window units are exempt from this law, so their SEERs are still around 10). The SEER rating is usually shown on a yellow and black EnergyGuide sticker attached to the outside unit of the air conditioner.
How much energy and money can you save by upgrading from your old air conditioner to a modern, more efficient model? Let’s suppose your older air conditioning system had a SEER rating of 9. If you were to upgrade to a SEER 13 air conditioner (the lowest efficiency available), you would reduce your power consumption by about 28%. That can translate to energy savings up to $300 per year (depending on your usage rate and the cost of electricity).
The tables below will give you an estimate of the electricity you can save by upgrading to an air conditioning system with a higher SEER