In Utah, the climate can be just as dry as the state’s NBA team’s championship record.
Utahn air conditioners must have higher SEER ratings.
You can tell an air conditioner possesses more efficient systems through its SEER ratings.
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is a rating system formulated to indicate a cooling system’s energy efficiency. A SEER rating will tell you whether your air conditioner is causing surges in your energy bills or saving you from them.
Here’s a hint, think of a see-saw:
- Lower SEER ratings lead to higher energy costs.
- Higher SEER ratings lead to lower energy costs.
Still, some of us may be in the dark about a SEER rating and its role in helping you save money and the environment.
Here, we will talk about SEER ratings and how they factor into air conditioning units.
Read on if you live in Sandy, Utah, or anywhere with a climate just as hot and dry.
What is Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio?
As you already know, SEER stands for the seasonal energy efficiency rating, but what does it measure?
The SEER rating of an air conditioning unit measures how much energy is consumed by its heating and cooling system to lower indoor temperatures during seasons outside of the typical cooling season.
In Utah, cooling seasons typically last longer. The longest is summer, which lasts from June 4 to September 14. During this time, Utahns must have reliable AC systems with high efficiency that can withstand the entire cooling season.
Central air conditioners and other units with a conventional HVAC system might not be the most energy-efficient air conditioning system to use at this time.
If you have to option to upgrade to a new air conditioning unit, choose one with a two-stage system and variable speed function.
The new HVAC system now comes with more than a single-stage system. Its high efficiency is on the count of its more advanced technology of variable speed functions and multi-stage systems.
A new AC unit may come with a higher SEER rating, and the higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the unit.
To help drop costs on your next energy bill, opt for a new cooling system with a higher SEER rating.
What is a Good SEER Rating?
Online, you will find many AC SEER ratings. What’s good for others may not be suitable for you.
The variable involved in SEER ratings depends on your needs.
- How big is your space?
- What is your area’s climate?
- What are your preferences for indoor temperatures?
- What is the maximum number of people that can occupy the space simultaneously?
If you notice, these questions are all related to capacity.
The SEER rating defines efficiency, and its capacity to do so depends on both the seasonal temperature it has to compensate for and how many of you the AC unit will do it for.
SEER is also not the only factor that matters in measuring the efficiency of an air conditioner.
What Do Energy Efficiency Ratio and Heat Seasonal Performance Factor Mean?
Apart from the SEER, AC units have two other rating systems to measure their air conditioning efficiency.
Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) and Heat Seasonal Performance (HSPF) are ratings used to indicate how efficiently an air conditioner can sustain good indoor air quality.
EER is measured in the same way as SEER. However, EER measures one temperature. Whereas SEER is used to measure the efficiency of an air conditioner throughout an entire season.
HSPF is the direct opposite of SEER. It is used to measure an AC unit’s efficiency during heating seasons like winter. Where SEER measures efficiency during cooling seasons, HSPF measures its counterpart.
Why Use an Air Conditioner for Winter?
The main component of air conditioners is their HVAC unit. One of its primary functions is its heat pumps, and they aren’t just used to heat things during
Yes. Heat pumps are responsible for overall heat management, making a heat pump essential to condition any room properly.
Air conditioners don’t self-generate the air they produce. Its mechanisms take outdoor air and filter out pollutants and other contaminants before conditioning it to a pre-designated temperature.
A heat pump helps condition the air taken from the outside. However, heat pumps don’t just function from the outside to the inside.
They also manage indoor air quality by extracting the heat and replacing it with newly conditioned outdoor air.
In dryer states like Utah, heat pumps are essential in cooling indoor environments, and a good SEER rating is indicative of that.
Why Was the SEER System Developed?
The Department of Energy (DOE) developed the SEER system in 1992.
During those times, the most popular AC unit was a central air conditioner, and across the U.S., the DOE recommended it possess a minimum seer rating of 10 SEER.
However, since climate change has developed at an exceedingly fast rate, SEER rating requirements have surged. The hotter it gets outside, the harder it is for any air conditioning unit to function more efficiently.
The DOE deployed its requirements for a high SEER system to combat the inefficiency of an AC system. A new air conditioner that uses less energy is now legally required by the Federal government.
Why is the SEER System the Best Indicator of High-Efficiency Systems?
While all three rating systems have minimum requirements, the SEER rating remains the most indicative of fuel efficiency and sustainability among cooling systems in the hotter states of the U.S.
In hotter states, hot is an understatement.
Legal requirements for AC units with high SEER ratings are implemented to help Americans save their finances and the surrounding environment.
What SEER Rating Should My Air Conditioner Have?
According to Federal regulations, a minimum SEER rating of at least 13 SEER is required for cooling systems.
Still, in some states, the legal requirement is 14 SEER.
Utah goes by the national standards, and its residents are strongly advised to not only adhere to the minimum SEER ratings but to exceed them.
As summers in Utah usher in some of the hottest days anywhere in the United States, its local government encourages Utahns to opt for 16 to 20 SEER.
What is the Best Air Conditioner with a Higher Efficiency System?
A more energy-efficient air conditioning system will come at a higher price. Its more advanced technology will cost you more upfront.
However, long-term efficiency is worth it. If you are upgrading, opt for a higher SEER unit.
Some indicators to look for are within its operating systems.
A heat pump with a high Coefficient of Performance (CoP) ratio can help your air conditioning system achieve maximum efficiency.
Typically, ductless mini-split systems have higher CoP ratios than other units. A heat pump can work as effectively within ductless systems as with ducted ones. However, heat distribution and management won’t be as big an ordeal.
In traditional ducted systems such as central cooling systems, heat pumps manage heat distribution throughout ducting to maintain an equal temperature for all “zones.”
Ductless mini-split systems provide homeowners and establishments with a liberating system called zoning.
What is Zoning?
A ductless mini-split system allows users to designate temperatures to each “zone” individually.
A zone refers to each air conditioner’s area of responsibility. It could be one room or one part of a room.
When you have the freedom to decide what function one unit serves, it makes the heat pump’s job easier.
Heat pumps no longer have to carry out one function throughout different spaces, which may overwhelm their processing powers. It only has to adhere to temperature demands for a smaller area of responsibility.
Older models have a harder time coping in today’s climate and require more attention.
What is the Difference Between Older AC Models with Traditional HVAC Systems and Newer High SEER AC Units?
An older model has components that may no longer cut it in today’s climate.
These days, traditional HVAC systems come in at a lower SEER rating due to their more extensive processing, making their system less efficient.
Air conditioners with high SEER typically have newer or more innovative hardware. Today’s technology helps brands come out with more sustainable units that help users achieve overall efficiency.
While there are many differences, the ones that might catch your attention the most are reflected in your wallet.
Newer models, especially multi-split systems, will cost you more upfront. However, it will prove its efficiency later on when your next electric bill arrives.
Older models are arguably more affordable. Still, the dent it will make on your bills and the environment might prove it a less suitable choice in today’s climate.
However, if you are reluctant to make an upgrade, check if your current system meets the minimum standards.
What is the Minimum SEER Rating for the Region of Utah?
The minimum SEER requirement all over the U.S. is 13 SEER.
In Northern regions, the minimum is higher at 14 SEER.
However, in Utah, the national minimum of 13 SEER is implemented.
If you can’t afford a newer unit, ensure your unit meets the state requirement. It is strongly suggested Utahns abide by the standard and work toward exceeding it.
The DOE considers the state’s climate and rising fuel prices and recommends all air conditioning units in Utah be 16-20 SEER.
Is It Punishable by Law if My Air Conditioner Doesn’t Meet the Minimum SEER Rating of the State?
Yes. However, it is the legal obligation of your AC contractor.
Homeowners and commercial establishments are not liable for not meeting the state’s SEER standards.
Official AC technicians are required by law to ensure SEER standards are met. The sale of AC units that don’t meet legal requirements is also prohibited.
How Do I Find Out the SEER Rating of My Current System?
Look for a sticker that is either light or neon yellow with black markings. It could also be an off-white or silver sticker.
It should be on the side panels or your outdoor unit. It should be on the bottom-most part if it’s on the indoor unit.
If you can’t locate a sticker, examine the box it comes in for any indicators.
You can read its specs and configurations somewhere on its box.
Try reading its user manual if you can’t find it anywhere there.
It’s unlikely it isn’t indicated there. Still, if you can’t find it anywhere, you can always calculate it.
What if I Can’t Find the SEER Rating Indicated on the Unit, Box, or User Manual of My Air Conditioner?
You can call the manufacturer of your AC, give them your model number and wait for their response.
If you are inclined to math, you can calculate the unit’s SEER rating yourself.
Look for the British Thermal Unit (BTU) and Watt-Hours of your air conditioning unit and proceed with the steps below.
- Multiply the BTU to 1,000, which is the baseline of summer hours.
- Divide the BTU product by the Watt-Hours product. The product we get from BTUx1000 we will call your BTU product.
- Multiply the Watt-Hours to 1,000.
- The product we get from the Watt-Hoursx1000 we will call your Watt-Hours product.
The quotient you get from this equation is your unit’s SEER rating.
Of course, it would be easier to call a professional to conduct these calculations for you. A reliable technician will help you figure it out and tell you if it is the right SEER rating.
Do Good SEER Ratings Mean Everything?
No, they don’t mean everything. They play a major role in efficiency, but it is not the be-all-end-all of things.
A cooling system’s SEER is definitive of its potential, but improper installation and maintenance can dampen that.
Please don’t buy the most expensive unit out there only to hire an unreliable expert for its installation and tune-up.
Something as simple as an exposed wire or unusual placement can make things harder.
If your unit is installed in compact spaces without proper vantage points for tune-ups, you will risk further difficulties.
Such is the case with little to no access to your unit’s evaporator coil. If technicians can’t access your unit’s inner coils and wires, it may cause short-circuiting and combustion.
We at One Stop Heating and Air Conditioning Can Help You With That!
Don’t settle for less.
One Stop Heating and Air Conditioning technicians provide you with the proper amount of attention and transparency.
We help you make sure your air conditioner is operating at its maximum potential to save you more than just a few bucks on your next billing statement.
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