There are many indicators that would help you to pick the right air conditioning system or HVAC unit. You may be drawn by the energy rating. It is always recommended to buy nothing short of three stars. Most energy analysts suggest you buy an air conditioning system or HVAC unit that has five stars, especially if you intend to use the appliance for many hours every day. Another indicator you would be suggested to use is the SEER rating.
What is a SEER Rating?
SEER is an acronym for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It is a measurement of how much cooling the air conditioner offers upon consuming one unit of electricity. You will come across SEER ratings of 13, 15, 18 or even as low as 8 and as high as 25. SEER is an indicator that, like the energy star ratings, will help you to know if you would be saving on your energy consumption. Like all other energy ratings, the more SEER rating you have in a model, the more energy efficient it is. A 20AC or 25AC would be much more efficient than a 13AC or 10AC. As expected, such air conditioners or HVAC units also cost more.
The Truth about SEER Rating
Just as the number of stars indicating energy efficiency is not the end-game or the sole factor that determines energy consumption, the SEER rating cannot be seen in isolation. You have to factor in the testing environment, which is used to come up with the rating. You may or may not know that the mileage of motorcycles and cars are not tested on the real roads in real life traffic conditions. They are tested in less frictional environments and mostly in no traffic conditions. Very few brands will tell you how much mileage they offer on real roads, which is why you have to presume that the claim will not be delivered upon.
Likewise, the SEER rating is calculated in a scenario when the outside temperature is 82 degrees. Tampa records a higher temperature than that through the days during summers. Whenever you raise the temperature by a few degrees above 82, the SEER rating will not be of much help. Hence, you are advised to opt for a higher SEER rating than usually recommended. For instance, if you are recommended 13AC, then you should go for 15AC or 18AC to be sure of saving some money on energy consumption. If your HVAC or AC has a SEER rating of 8 or 10, then you should consider upgrading.
Do remember that the tonnage of the AC, the square footage of the area, the size of the rooms, number of occupants and how long the appliance will be operational every day will also influence your choice of SEER rating.