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SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. This rating describes how effectively an air conditioner uses electricity to remove heat from your home. Higher SEER ratings indicate better efficiency and, therefore, lower energy bills. Understanding cooling performance ratings allows you to shop for new HVAC equipment with energy savings in mind.

What’s the Best SEER Rating?

Cooling efficiency has improved drastically over the past several decades. In 1992, 10 SEER was the minimum rating permitted for newly manufactured equipment. In 2006, the minimum was raised to 13 SEER. The rating increased again in 2015, requiring new ACs installed in the South to be 14 SEER or higher (the 13 SEER minimum still applied to Northern states).

The minimum SEER rating is set to increase once again on January 1, 2023, to 14 SEER for the North and 15 SEER for the South, including Florida.

Of course, you can purchase an Energy Star-certified air conditioner for enhanced performance, advanced features, and improved home comfort above and beyond the minimum requirements. The best SEER ratings available today are in the high 20s.

How are SEER Ratings Calculated?

Before a new air conditioner hits the market, it undergoes a series of tests to see how well it performs. SEER is calculated by taking the total cooling output across the entire cooling season (in British thermal units, or Btu) divided by the total electricity consumed in the process (in watt-hours).

You might notice another rating on central air conditioners called EER, or energy efficiency ratio. This tells you the air conditioner’s ability to remove heat at any given moment rather than over the entire cooling season. High EER ratings indicate that the equipment will keep up on the hottest summer days without costing you a fortune.

In 2023, the US Department of Energy (DOE) is enacting new testing procedures that increase the external static pressure to better reflect real-world conditions. Since the new tests are more stringent, you’ll see new efficiency ratings called SEER2 and EER2 to reflect the updated testing metrics. Under the new procedures, the 14 SEER minimum for the North becomes 13.4 SEER2, and 15 SEER for the South becomes 14.3 SEER2.

Shop for a New Air Conditioner in the Tampa Bay Area

Now that you understand SEER ratings, you can confidently shop for a new air conditioner to maximize energy efficiency. At Hawkins Service Company, we specialize in air conditioning sales and installation. Our team can help you choose the best brand, size, and efficiency rating for your Tampa-area home. We even offer 0 percent financing for up to 72 months to make your purchase as affordable as possible.

Once you select the right equipment, let our fully licensed team install your new air conditioner for peak performance. We’ll help you maximize your AC’s SEER rating for optimal home comfort and energy savings. For more information or to schedule air conditioning services in the Tampa Bay Area, please call us at 813-871-6610 or contact us online.