The modern air conditioners that homeowners use today are far more efficient and effective than air conditioners of the past. Experts in the HVAC industry are always looking for ways to make more precise and efficient cooling systems, even if it means reinventing their products.
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) was created to help measure the efficiency of new air conditioners. It calculates the average efficiency of a homeowner's unit across an entire season.
SEER Rating History
In 1992, the U.S. Department of Energy passed legislation regarding minimum SEER requirements for air conditioners sold in America. The legislation required every A/C to have a minimum efficiency of 6 SEER. While considered good for the time, it was far behind today's standards of A/C efficiency.
In 2006, the minimum efficiency requirement was raised to 13 SEER. If your A/C is on the older side, it's likely that it was created with this standard in mind.
Today's SEER requirements range between 13-14 SEER depending on the region, but many newer air conditioners have a rating of 20 SEER or more.The Lennox XC21, for example, has a SEER rating of 21 and can change its output levels to match the needs of each specific home. The Lennox XC25 is even more efficient, with a 25 SEER rating and whisper-quiet operation.
*A comparison of energy savings between a 10 SEER and a 25 SEER A/C from Lennox.
Even mid-range units from today usually still carry a 15-17 SEER rating, which is nearly three times as effective as any older air conditioner. The HVAC industry has made great strides towards energy efficiency in the past decade.
Air conditioners lose their effectiveness over time. As your unit gets older, its SEER rating will decrease. How fast air conditioners lose their efficiency can depend on a number of factors, from efficiency to amount of use to quality of maintenance.
The easiest way to keep your air conditioner as efficient as possible is to schedule an A/C Tune-up from Four Seasons. By keeping your unit well-maintained and protected, you can ensure you enjoy an efficient A/C all summer long.