In 2015, the Department of Energy issued new rules and regulations about the use of SEER ratings for residential and commercial premises. Under the new regulations, users of HVAC systems are advised to use units with specific minimum SEER ratings.
The new guidelines help users achieve the best from their HVAC systems and avoid paying excessive power costs. In this short article, we compare SEER 14 and SEER 15.
We explain how good these two SEER ratings are. We also help you choose the best SEER rating for your premises based on your location and the new guidelines.
What is SEER Rating?
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is a standard metric used to measure air conditioners’ energy efficiency through the entire summer or season during which cooling is needed. In other words, this measure helps one to determine the energy efficiency level of an air conditioner when the unit will be in use.
The metric was developed by the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute. The SEER rating varies from the Energy Efficiency Ratio or EER.
The EER is a standard measure for determining the overall energy efficiency of air conditioners during perfect climatic conditions. The ideal climatic conditions occur when the temperature is at about 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
Although the SEER rating is indicated on every air conditioner, it is important to understand how it is calculated. The energy consumption of an air conditioning unit can be measured in terms of British Thermal Units of BTU.
Therefore, the SEER rating can be determined by dividing the BTU of the unit by its energy during the cooling season. The energy that is consumed during the cooling season is expressed in watt-hours.
Should I Purchase a High SEER AC Unit?
The SEER of AC units ranges from 13 to 21. The higher the SEER rating, the greater the energy efficiency level of the unit. Contrary, the lower the SEER rating, the less energy-efficient the unit is. However, your choice of the right SEER rating goes beyond merely the need to keep the energy costs down.
It may seem ideal for one to go for higher SEER AC units instead of the lower ones. However, this is not always the right thing to do. It would be best to look at many considerations before deciding to go for a higher SEER rating AC unit.
Generally, a higher SEER rating AC unit will help you pay less for power than when you use a lower SEER rating AC unit. In addition, the high energy efficiency rates of high SEER rating will help you save energy costs. Therefore, if you are conscious about the amount of money you spend on energy every month, you may want to go for a higher SEER rating.
However, high SEER rating AC units are pretty expensive. This is because they have advanced heating systems that ensure that your home is very comfortable. Unfortunately, advanced heating systems consume a considerably high amount of energy.
Nevertheless, they create a comfortable indoor environment because they minimize the irregular cooling cycles familiar with low SEER rating AC units.
Besides, they are quite delicate and may cost you a lot in repairs if they ever get damaged. Therefore, if you go for an AC unit with a high SEER rating, you will be forced to spend a lot of money purchasing, installing, and maintaining the unit.
Is 14 SEER Good Enough?
Contrary to many people’s opinion, a 14 SEER AC unit can be good enough to create and maintain a comfortable indoor environment in your home, even during the hottest months. Although currently, the SEER ratings go up to 21, a 14 SEER AC unit may be enough to maintain an ideal indoor environment in your home.
However, it would be best to consider a couple of factors before deciding to use a 14 SEER AC unit in your home. For starters, consider the region where you stay. If the region is scorching, it may be a good idea to go for an AC unit that has a higher SEER rating than 14.
Furthermore, consider the design of the AC unit. Units with a two-stage speed compressor and a variable speed blower are more effective than those with single-stage speed compressors.
As a result, you will find two-stage speed compressors in AC units with exceptionally high SEER ratings. Using AC units with a single-stage speed compressor is that they turn on and off many times. This leads to uneven cooling in your home when you use them.
Is a 15 SEER Unit Good?
A 15 SEER AC unit is good enough if you are keen on keeping your energy costs within a manageable level without compromising your comfort. AC units with high SEER ratings have advanced systems that enhance the home’s overall comfort where they are installed. However, installing, maintaining, or even repairing such units is quite expensive.
Units with relatively low ratings, including 15, are not necessarily inefficient. There are many old units with much lower SEER ratings of even 8 or 9. Thus, a 15 SEER rating AC unit will serve you quite well if you are not interested in having one that has advanced heating systems and related features.
A 14 SEER AC unit will not cost you much in energy costs when it runs. Generally, an AC unit with this SEER rating may cost you an average of $188 in energy costs per year.
This amount is calculated based on a complex formula that you can use to determine the SEER ratings of your unit and its energy consumption rates.
However, remember that the actual figure may be quite different from the real one because of the differences in energy rates among the states. Nevertheless, it is a good indicator of how much you may spend when installing a 14 SEER AC unit in your home.
Although a 14 SEER AC unit is enough to keep your home comfortable during the hot summer months, it lacks some of the advanced heating systems you find in AC units with higher SEER ratings.
Notably, a 14 SEER furnace filter goes off and on many times in a bid to keep your house cool. Unfortunately, this means that you will experience uneven cooling when you have such an AC unit in your home.
The primary motivation of using a 15 SEER AC unit is to cut down on power costs without compromising the comfort of your home. Running a 15 SEER AC unit in your home may cost you about $172 per year.
Remember that the actual amount of money that you will spend in maintaining your 15 SEER AC unit may vary. However, compared to a higher SEER rating, this is a big deal. More so, installing a 15 SEER AC unit costs much less than installing one with a higher SEER rating.
A 14 SEER or 15 SEER AC unit may be the right one for your premises, depending on where you stay and your specific needs. A 14 SEER or 15 SEER AC unit may not necessarily be poor in utilizing energy efficiently.
There are some old models of AC units that still bear very low SEER ratings. However, you may find it necessary to go for a higher SEER rating under the modern system.
Nevertheless, consider the climatic region you live in and the amount of money you are willing to spend when obtaining your unit before deciding between SEER 14 and SEER 15.