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A Deep-Dive Into SEER

In last month’s post, “How Upgrading Your AC Unit Can Help Reduce Your Power Bill & Improve Your Air Quality,” we describe SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) for air conditioners and how the higher the SEER, the higher the energy efficiency of the unit. Of course, we could just leave it at that and hope you take our word for it.

However, we at Polar Bear Air Conditioning believe that homeowners should have access to all the facts before making any expensive decisions. We will look a bit deeper into how SEER is determined and some simple calculations you can do to help you decide if your current air conditioner needs a more efficient upgrade.

A Brief Overview of SEER 

All of this data is collected so that the AC system has a simple number for consumers to compare to other systems in their hunt for the most affordable and efficient model. 

Energy-Efficiency Calculations 

So, once again we are telling you that a high SEER means high efficiency. But, how do we know that one number is more efficient than the other? In the following example, we will show you how you can compare the SEER of two AC units and see the energy savings first-hand.

What You Need: 

  1. SEER Numbers & BTUs for 2+ Comparable Units 
  2. Approx. Cooling Season (how long the unit will run per day & how many days it will run in a season) 
  3. Calculator (optional)

Sample Calculation: 

12 SEER 2-ton Air Conditioner vs. 16 SEER 2-ton Air Conditioner (24,000 BTUs per Unit)

  • First, we need to determine kilowatt-hours: 

12 SEER: 24,000 BTUs / 12 (SEER) = 2,000 kWh

16 SEER: 24,000 BTUs / 16 (SEER) = 1,500 kWh

  • Now we need to calculate costs per hour (assuming $0.305 per kWh): 

12 SEER: 2.000 X 30.5 cents per kWh = 61 (or $0.61 per kWh)

16 SEER: 1.500 X 30.5 cents per kWh = 45.75 (or $0.46 per kWh)

  • Finally, we will compare the two units’ yearly usage savings (assuming the unit will run an average of 13 hours per day for 365 days):

13 hrs per day X 365 days = 5,110 hours per year

12 SEER: 5,110 hours X $0.61 per hour = $3,117.10 per year

16 SEER: 5,110 hours X $0.46 per hour = $2,350.60 per year

In the above sample, the 16 SEER air conditioner would save the owner about $766.50 per year on the energy bill!  Although this does not seem to be a lot of money in comparison to the annual energy costs, remember that a properly maintained AC unit can last up to 10 years, which would result in a total savings of $7,665! 

Now that you have the calculations, check out some air conditioners, and find the best unit for your money by plugging in your own numbers. For more information on SEER comparisons or the best air conditioning installations, repairs, and maintenance in Grand Cayman, give the expert technicians at Polar Bear Air Conditioning a call today!


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