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A Phoenix, Scottsdale -Area Homeowner’s Guide To SEER Ratings

When you’re choosing a new central air conditioner or heat pump, a guide to SEER ratings will help you decide which equipment is best for you. The cooling season in Tempe is long and intense and electric rates are higher in the summer, making the SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) rating one of the most important considerations you face. The minimum SEER stands at 13, although equipment is available with SEERs into the mid-20s. Engineers find the SEER rating by running a central cooling system in controlled conditions where the outdoor air is 82 degrees F and they condition a space to 80 degrees over the course of a season. Anything higher will save electricity. You’ll find the SEER rating prominently displayed on the bright yellow EnergyGuide label for the appliance.

To estimate your savings by increasing the SEER rating for your home, use this guide to SEER ratings by understanding that each increase in the SEER uses the same amount of electricity as a 13 SEER system, but you’ll get more cooling for the same amount of electrical usage.

For example, a 13 SEER system provides 13 Btus (British thermal units) of cooling power per watt hour it uses. A 14 SEER system will provide one more watt hour for the same amount of electrical consumption. When you choose a system with a SEER of 20 over a 13 SEER system, you’ll get seven more Btus of cooling for the same amount of energy a 13 SEER system uses.

Considering our intensely hot climate, features to look for in high-efficiency systems include:

    • Electronically commutated motors in the air handler. These use a fraction of the electricity single-speed motors do, run more quietly and remove more indoor humidity and airborne particulates.
    • Dual-speed compressors. This type of compressor runs at slower speeds when temperatures aren’t extremely hot, saving money overnight and during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall.

For more information on SEER ratings, contact Wolff Mechanical. We’ve provided HVAC services for Phoenix and Scottsdale for more than 20 years.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Phoenix Valley area of Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

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