What Does the SEER on an Air Conditioner Really Tell a Cincinnati Homeowner?

by Greg Leisgang on June 3, 2014

Posted in: Air Conditioners

SEERA new central air conditioner in Cincinnati has to meet the current minimum seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) of 13. This standard, established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in 2006, offers a significant improvement over the old standard of 10 SEER. The DOE establishes minimum efficiency ratings to reduce energy consumption of HVAC equipment that benefits everyone in lower energy costs and fewer carbon emissions.

How Is the SEER Determined?

Each model of a central air conditioner has to be laboratory tested to arrive at its SEER rating. Engineers place the outdoor condenser in an environment thermally controlled to 82 degrees. They measure the amount of energy the system uses to cool a space to 80 degrees with a humidity level of 50 percent.

They run the system long enough to estimate its performance over the course of a cooling season. SEER ratings range from 13 and go into the 20s. Each increase in its raising uses 10 percent less energy to run under test conditions. 

Maintaining Efficiency

Since the SEER rating is determined under controlled conditions, it may or may not live up to its rating for a central air conditioner in Cincinnati. Influencing factors include how well it was initially sized and installed, and how well it's maintained over the system's lifetime.

  • An oversized air conditioner won't be as efficient because it'll run in short cycles that use more electricity.
  • If the refrigerant level wasn't installed according to the manufacturer's specifications, it won't perform as efficiently as its SEER rating promises. 
  • If the air filter isn't changed and the equipment doesn't receive routine maintenance, its efficiency will drop. 

Another factor is the blower motor that distributes the cooled air for both your air conditioner and furnace. The motors have to match for the unit to live up to its SEER rating. The DOE recommends replacing both the cooling and heating system together, especially if the furnace is 15 years or older. 

The pros at JonLe Heating & Cooling can give you more information about an efficient air conditioner in Cincinnati. We've provided HVAC services throughout the area for more than 50 years. 

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