What Does An AC Unit’s SEER Rating Mean In Plain English?

The efficiency of air conditioners is expressed using a measure referred to as the SEER rating. SEER is an acronym that stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio.

The SEER rating of any air conditioning unit basically means how much cooling output the unit produces divided by the amount of electrical energy it uses.

SEER rating allows anyone who is so inclined to calculate the kilowatts per hour that it would cost to operate an air conditioning unit. I’ve never met anyone who cared to calculate how many kilowatts per hour their AC unit uses.

For most people, the best way to use an air conditioner’s SEER rating is to view it in relative terms to the SEER rating of other models.

For example, if you were trying to decide between a 13 SEER air conditioner and a 16 SEER model, you would probably just want to know that the 16 SEER unit is approximately 20% more energy efficient than the 13 SEER unit. (about 23% more efficient to be more precise)

To make things easy for you, here is a list of how much of an increase in energy efficiency some of the most popular air conditioning units provide over a 13 SEER unit.

SEER RATING EFFICIENCY INCREASE OVER 13 SEER UNIT
14 SEER approximately 8%
16 SEER approximately 20%
17 SEER approximately 24%
18 SEER approximately 30%