Is It Worth Getting a Higher SEER Rating?

Your SEER rating is an important way to tell you how efficient your appliances are. When buying an HVAC appliance, deciding whether to get a higher SEER rating can take time.

Getting a higher SEER rating can definitely be worth it. Since its purpose is to tell you about the device’s efficiency, the higher the SEER, the more efficient your appliance. However, there are other factors to consider as well.

This article will help you understand the pros and cons of getting an appliance with a higher SEER rating and make a better-informed decision.

Benefits of a High SEER Rating

To understand the benefits of having an HVAC unit with a higher SEER rating, you must first understand the basis of this rating and how it is calculated.

The SEER rating is based on the amount of air removed from the environment by your device. It’s determined based on the relationship between thermal energy units (BTUs) and the amount of power generated and used by the appliance. BTUs indicate how much heat is taken from the surrounding environment. 

Naturally, if the ratio is higher, more heat is removed per unit of energy consumed, and the SEER rating will increase to reflect this.

If you’re looking for an HVAC unit with a high SEER rating, you’ll likely end up paying more money for the appliance. Although they tend to pay for themselves in energy savings in the long run, the upfront cost can be a big factor.

That being said, let’s look at some of the primary benefits of devices with a high SEER rating:

Cost-Effective in the Long Run

While the cost of buying an appliance with a higher SEER rating is admittedly higher than that of an AC with a lower rating, you’ll end up saving money in the long run. 

This is because a unit with a higher SEER rating will do the same amount of work for a comparatively lower energy consumption rate. This directly affects your electricity bill and means you’ll pay less over time. 

This difference in the electricity bill will be much more pronounced if you live in an area with weather that requires constant air conditioning.

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Higher Efficiency

If you have an HVAC unit with a high SEER rating, it won’t take too long to cool down your space in the summer months. It will also heat a room much faster in the winter, and it also means your AC doesn’t run long cycles to attain your desired room temperature.

This is because the HVAC stops running its cycle as soon as the room temperature hits the thermostat level and only resumes when the temperature changes. This also contributes to the lower cost of running a system with a higher SEER rating.

Read: How Useful Is Seasonal Maintenance Of HVAC Units?

Humidity Control

Another significant benefit of a system with a higher SEER rating is that it does well in dealing with humidity. A good HVAC unit extracts excess moisture from the air to make the atmosphere more comfortable, and a high SEER rating helps it do that.

A unit with a higher SEER rating is designed to run longer cycles in atmospheres with low air pressure. And since places with higher moisture levels tend to have lower air pressure, the cycles tend to take longer. 

When the air gets cooled at a slower speed, moisture removal from the air is more effective, making the humidity level ambient.

In case you cannot tell whether the air in your home is humid, you can check out this article for more information.

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Environmental Benefits

A higher SEER rating makes a system more energy efficient. This means that fewer fossil fuels get consumed in operating your appliance. Besides this, since the cooling is faster and the cycles are shorter, the amount of greenhouse gasses expiated is also lower in the case of units with higher SEER ratings. 

This also contributes to a lower carbon footprint. 

Incentives and Rebates

Since systems with high SEER ratings are energy-efficient and environment-friendly, many governments tie incentives to their purchase such as tax rebates. Along with this, many manufacturers also offer deals to promote the sales of these systems.

Using these incentives and rebates can save a lot of money and bring the cost of a high SEER rating HVAC unit down to almost equal that of a standard one.

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Future-Proofing

HVAC units with high SEER ratings will be considered more desirable as we move into the future. People who look to buy homes will prefer ones with these systems installed as opposed to standard units.

As such, having a high SEER rating appliance installed in your home can be a unique selling point. It will make your house more valuable on the market and sell faster.

Downsides of Buying an HVAC Unit With High SEER Ratings

The only major drawback to getting a high SEER rating HVAC unit is the increase in the upfront cost. While these costs can be minimized using incentives and rebates, it can only be considered worth it if the unit helps you save money on the electricity bill.

In places with moderate weather conditions, where the use of an HVAC unit isn’t necessary throughout the year, the reduction in the electricity bill may be less significant. 

I wouldn’t suggest opting for a unit with a higher SEER rating for people living in such areas because, on the one hand, incentives/rebates are not guaranteed, while on the other, their utility bill won’t decrease as much.

What Is a Good SEER Rating?

Now that you know the pros and cons of getting a system with a high SEER rating, which rating is good enough for you to buy? To answer this question, we must first know about the different levels of SEER ratings. They are:

  • 13 to 16 SEER number: Baseline efficiency
  • 16 to 20 SEER number: Mid-level efficiency
  • 20+ SEER number: High-level efficiency

On paper, any SEER rating above 14 is considered to be fine nowadays. These systems have lower costs and, consequently, lower levels of efficiency. They are a good option for people with lesser air conditioning needs.

On the other end of the spectrum are the units with SEER ratings crossing 20. While these are the most efficient systems of the lot, the exceptionally high costs make it near impossible for the purchase to be worth it. These systems are best suited for people who can spend large sums of money and aren’t entirely concerned about balancing costs and benefits.

The best group is the mid-level efficiency systems. This level brings the best of both worlds together. With a price range that isn’t too high and an efficiency that isn’t too low, systems with a SEER rating of 16-20 are best suited for people who need the upgrade but want to save money. 

Final Thoughts

This article aimed to help you understand the concept of SEER ratings and make well-informed decisions on whether a higher rating is worth buying. This was done by stating the pros and cons of high SEER-rating HVAC units.

In general, there is only one con to buying a high SEER rating unit, i.e., the cost. The pros most definitely outweigh the cons if the buyer is well-informed about their environment. As such, appliances with a higher SEER rating are worth it, given all the other factors are ideal.