What Is SEER And Why Is It Important?

Hey there! Ben here. I wanted to start answering some of the most common questions I get asked, and this one is top of mind as we head into AC season. 😎

When it comes to air conditioning, we don’t rate efficiencies the same way we treat furnaces.  Furnaces are rated in percentage. With air conditioners we rate efficiency in a ratio: SEER – the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The higher the number, the more efficient it is. 📈

Today’s minimum requirement in Canada for air conditioners is 13 SEER. Energy Star models start at 14 SEER. Many manufacturers offer higher levels reaching 21 SEER and higher. ❄️

In Leeds & Grenville we’re considered a heating climate, so I tend to recommend 16 (or 17) SEER models for air conditioners. I would rather see a client invest in a higher efficiency heating system, because it costs more to heat our homes than it does to cool our homes. However, in certain circumstances, higher efficiency AC units can make sense too. 💡

Older systems can have a rating of 10, or even 8 SEER. Upgrading your air conditioner to a 13 SEER is a significant efficiency upgrade. As a general rule, each SEER level increase will reduce energy consumption by 8-10%. This is a sliding scale seeing as cooling our homes won’t ever be $0 – as much as we’d love that! 💙

There are some changes to how air conditioners are being rated which came into effect this past January.  We will start hearing more about SEER2 ratings, which take into account a few more energy consumption factors. We will discuss this in another post but the short answer to this is that NRCan has increased the minimum level of air conditioning efficiency. A 14 SEER model manufactured in 2022 will likely now be considered a 13 SEER2 system. 🇨🇦

I hope this helps! Feel free to drop questions in the comments! 👇

– Ben

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