What Does An Air Conditioner’s SEER Rating Actually Mean?

image of efficiency rating sign depicting air conditioner seer rating

One of the essential elements for consideration during air conditioner replacement is the SEER rating. This rating determines how efficient an HVAC system is regarding its energy efficiency and providing indoor comfort. The US Energy Information Administration states that a residential HVAC system’s SEER rating should be 14 or higher. Keep in mind that there are different SEER rating requirements for different states. Learn everything you need to know about this topic in this article.

Explore Our Air Conditioner Services Call To Schedule A Free, In-Home Estimate: (860) 399-6218

What Does An Air Conditioner’s SEER Rating Mean?

The acronym SEER, which stands for the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, is the HVAC system’s rating for the cooling output measurement versus its annual total energy consumption. It usually ranges from 13 to 21. Higher SEER ratings translate to higher efficiency in cooling systems.

Why SEER Is Important?

happy man counting savings after installing new air conditioner with high seer rating

Before installing an air conditioner, you should know its SEER rating as the right system provides you with these benefits:

  • Lower cooling costs – An HVAC system that can cool your home at your preferred temperature while using less energy means it is highly efficient. Therefore, choosing the right SEER rating can assist in reducing your energy bills.
  • Better comfort – HVAC professionals say that well-performing air conditioners can cool a four-bedroom house by 10 degrees Fahrenheit in 3 hours. This also relies on the air conditioner’s size and age, but having the right SEER rating should provide you with the home comfort you need.
  • Eco-friendlier cooling – Air conditioners that have reduced energy consumption produce fewer greenhouse gasses. This means that HVAC systems with high SEER ratings are better for the environment.
Call Today: (860) 399-6218

What Does A Good SEER Rating Mean?

Overall, SEER ratings above 14 are good. However, several factors must be considered to find the best rating for your needs. These are the selected energy consumption rate, cooling needs of your home, and the home’s size. High SEER ratings mean increased efficiency. Make sure to seek professional help from an HVAC contractor when finding the right SEER rating for your home since the HVAC unit efficiency largely relies on the size of your home. Keep in mind that while an air conditioner with 14-SEER can cool a two-bedroom home efficiently, an AC with a higher SEER rating is needed to cool a five-bedroom house.

Calculating The SEER Rating

hands with calculator and notepad depicting seasonal energy efficiency rating of an air conditioning system

Calculate the SEER rating of your air conditioner by dividing the total cooling output of the year by the total electric energy input. You first need to determine the cooling output. To do so, multiply the British Thermal Unit per hour (BTU/h) by the daily cooling hours. Multiply this by how many days the air conditioner worked in a year. This is exemplified below:

7,000 BTU/h x 8 cooling hours/day x 240 days/year = 13,440,000 BTUs per year.
If you have 700,000 Wh total energy consumption for the year, your SEER rating will be:
13,440,000/700,000 = 19.2 SEER

Explore Our Air Conditioner Repair & Replacement Services Call To Schedule A Free Consultation

How To Find A SEER Rating On An Air Conditioner

HVAC manufacturers are required by the US Department of Energy to indicate the cooling system’s SEER rating and the Energy Star label for qualified models. Look for the yellow and black sticker to determine your air conditioner’s SEER rating. This is typically on the condenser unit and should have a clearly indicated SEER rating.

You can also check your air handler to find the SEER rating. If these two options are unavailable, find the manufacturer name, serial number, and model number and use this information to search for the HVAC system on the internet or call the manufacturer.

If this is too much of a hassle, call an HVAC expert to visit your home and help you. Otherwise, it should be easy to find the SEER rating unless the manufacturer failed to label it clearly.

Defining Mismatched Cooling Systems

man suffering from high humidity at home due to mismatched ac units

The condenser unit and the air handler must match to ensure your air conditioner performs optimally. Manufacturers make air handlers that are only compatible with specific condensers. Therefore, HVAC contractors should install these two components in their matched pairs. The bad news is that this situation doesn’t always occur, especially if an inexperienced contractor installs your system.

Moreover, it is also considered a mismatch when the size of the cooling unit doesn’t match your home. It could be that the air conditioning system is too small or too large for the space you have. An air conditioner that is too large will start short cycling. This is when the air conditioner can cool your home, but its cycles won’t run long enough to filter the indoor air or remove the moisture in it. As a result, your indoor air quality suffers, and you will feel uncomfortable. Short cycling also causes your system to use more energy as your air conditioner constantly switches on and off.
On the other hand, a system that is too small will run long cycles but cause the system to overwork. This can result in wear and tear, and your system may require frequent HVAC repairs or early replacement. Homeowners will also have to pay high energy bills.

You should make sure that the HVAC installer understands that a mismatched HVAC system will have reduced efficiency regardless of its SEER rating. Avoid having a mismatched cooling system by talking to a qualified HVAC technician.

Get Started - Call Us Today Read Our Reviews

What Else To Consider When Choosing A Cooling System

You should also consider the factors listed below when selecting an HVAC system that best suits your home:

  • Air Conditioner Size – Cooling units that are too large or too small generally have higher energy consumption rates.
  • Cooling System Price – When buying a new cooling unit, you should keep your budget in mind.
  • Unit Noise – Less efficient cooling systems emit more noise because they work harder.
  • HVAC Warranty – This guarantees that you get your system repaired or replaced if the unit doesn’t operate as expected.



A good SEER rating provides better energy efficiency and reduced energy costs. Having an ENERGY STAR certification can also help you cut your energy bills further while protecting the environment. Contact an HVAC professional to help you with all your heating and cooling needs and questions. They can assist you in selecting the most suitable HVAC system and its maintenance.

Call To Make An Appointment

Call Wilcox Energy For All Of Your HVAC Requirements


For superior heating and cooling services in the southern Connecticut shoreline, make sure to call Wilcox Energy. We have highly skilled and the best professionally certified technicians who can provide you with high-quality HVAC maintenance, installations, repairs, and replacements. All our technicians have years of experience and extensive knowledge to service your HVAC system correctly.

Wilcox Energy has the most competitive HVAC service prices in the area. Our tune-up services can enhance your comfort and energy efficiency while lowering your energy bills. We can recommend the most fitting HVAC repair or replacement system within your budget. We back all our work with a guarantee because your satisfaction is our priority. To schedule a service appointment, contact Wilcox Energy today. We offer free, in-home estimates.

Call Now: (860) 399-6218 Explore Our Case Studies

For more information about heating and cooling systems, be sure to contact Wilcox Energy. You can contact us at (860) 399-6218. We offer a full line of heater and air conditioner repairs, maintenance services, and installations.