Heat Pump Efficiency

Heat Pump Efficiency: What Does SEER Mean?

Depending on how long you have had your current heating and cooling system, you may encounter some terms you are unfamiliar with. One of those terms is SEER or SEER rating. No worries! The cool cats at Carolina Cool have the 411 you need to know to make informed choices for your home heating and cooling needs!

The 411 on SEER Ratings
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and is a measurement of the energy efficiency of the cooling part of your system. This ratio is determined by taking the total cooling output over a standard cooling season (i.e. summer) and dividing it by the amount of electricity used by that cooling unit during the same time frame. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy-efficient the cooling ability of that heat pump or air conditioner.

The AHRI (Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute) introduced new guidelines for SEER ratings in 2006 to help standardize the way the energy efficiency of cooling systems is measured. The US Department of Energy (DOE) uses SEER ratings in its rules and regulations as one measure of controlling the nation’s energy consumption. In 2015, the DOE updated the regulations for SEER ratings for the southeast and southwest United States to a required minimum SEER rating of 14 for all cooling systems sold in those regions. In the northern half of the US, the minimum SEER rating is 13. (Note: Other energy consumption standards for air conditioners were in place as far back as the 1970s but were not as accurate as SEER.)

SEER and South Carolina
So what does this SEER rating mean to you in South Carolina? Generally speaking, the higher the SEER rating of a system, the more expensive that system is to purchase. However, the higher SEER rating saves you more money on your monthly electric bill over the lifespan of the cooling system. Depending on the size of your space, spending a little more on a heat pump with a higher SEER rating could save you a lot of money over many years of use. However, shelling out lots of cash for the highest SEER rated unit available is not always the best choice. Some manufacturers offer heat pumps and split systems with SEER ratings of 28! If your home is on the smaller side, the savings on your monthly bills over the life of that unit may not balance out the cost of choosing a higher SEER heat pump. And repairs on very high SEER systems can be more expensive due to increased cost of replacement parts and increased labor.

When its time to replace or upgrade your system, SEER ratings will be a factor in your decision. You want to choose a heat pump with a SEER rating that will give you long-term savings without a massive increase in price on the unit itself that you won’t recoup over the life of the unit. However, you don’t have to navigate this choice alone! The cats at Carolina Cool are available to help you select the heat pump and SEER rating that will work best for your home and keep you cooooooool.