Importance of SEER Rating
Before looking at the true meaning of SEER rating, it is helpful to understand that SEER is basically an efficiency rating. It is used the same way as miles per gallon is used in describing automobile efficiency. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and is the value used to describe the efficiency of an air conditioning system. It was defined by the Air Conditioning Heating and Refrigeration Institute. Apart from the air conditioning equipment, air-source heat pump equipment use this rating for evaluation.
The SEER value is achieved by dividing the amount of cooling that is given out by the system in BTU’s per hour by the amount of electric energy being consumed for the same duration. The calculation is done under predefined seasonal conditions. Since these evaluations are done on each unit of cooling equipment using the exact set of conditions, the ratings can be helpful in making comparisons on equipment made by different manufacturers. It is a common characteristic of manufacturers using newer or better technology to achieve higher SEER ratings. It is worth noting that SEER is calculated under the same indoor temperature but over a range of outdoor temperatures. These range from 18°C to 40°C.
SEER Relationship with EER
Energy Efficiency Ratio is the overall ratio of the total output cooling in Btu/hour to input of electrical energy in form of watts at a provided operating position. For benchmark modeling purposes, SEER can be converted to EER by using the formula: EER=-0.02 X SEER2 + 1.12 X SEER.
A significant amount of energy can be saved with more efficient systems. When an upgrade is carried out from SEER 9 to SEER 13, the power being used up is cut by 30% saving as much as $300 a year. Even though retaining existing air conditioners is cost effective, these units degrade significantly with time leading to low SEER ratings. It is therefore recommended to always carry out regular maintenance and cleaning to retain the efficiency.