What Do Air Conditioner Ratings Mean?Knowing something about air conditioner ratings helps remove the element of surprise from a new A/C purchase. Obviously, there are two costs involved in any new air conditioner: the upfront sticker price and the long-term cost of operating the unit. A buying decision should be based on more than just the immediate purchase price and should also take into account non-financial factors that affect the unit’s performance including noise levels. Here’s how air conditioner ratings can help you make an informed buying decision and avoid the unexpected.

SEER Basics

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and it’s the primary air conditioner rating utilized to express the energy efficiency of a central A/C. You’ll find the unit’s SEER rating printed conspicuously on the Department of Energy’s bright yellow EnergyGuide sticker that accompanies every new air conditioner. It’s also included in the manufacturer’s printed product information.

SEER is a numeral that expresses the ratio between the amount of heat removed from your house in BTUs versus the amount of electricity consumed in kilowatt hours. Today, SEER ratings begin at the federal minimum of 13 here in northern regions and rise as high as the mid-20s. The higher the SEER numeral is, the more efficient the air conditioner and the lower your long-term operating costs will be.

Beyond SEER

Generally speaking, a higher SEER rating also comes with a steeper sticker price, too, so it’s important to strike the best balance between a favorable SEER rating and an upfront purchase cost that is affordable now. Also remember that long-term cooling costs depend on other factors beyond SEER, such as the amount of insulation in the house and how well the structure is sealed to prevent heat gain.

Noise Ratings

You (and your neighbors) will be more happy with a central A/C that’s quiet and polite. Air conditioner sound ratings include decibels (db) and SRN. An A/C with a db rating between 70 and 88 or an SRN averaging between 75 and 80 is considered appropriate for residential installations.

For more advice on air conditioner ratings, contact Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air conditioner ratings and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 231-714-6196.

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