In the simplest terms, the higher the SEER value of a heating and cooling system, the more efficient and more cost-effective the system is. Many older systems still in use have SEERs of 6 or below, whereas by 1994, the average SEER for all units shipped by manufacturers in the U.S. improved to 10.61 for central air conditioners and 10.94 for central heat pumps.
This matters because it’s not just a question of whether a system can get the job done of making your house comfortable given enough time. The harder and longer the system has to run, the more money you’re spending just to stay within a certain temperature range. A highly efficient system can hit the mark you set quickly and keep it there with less energy expended, and it will lower your utility bills noticeably. Sometimes the savings are enough to partially or fully offset the cost of the new equipment within a few years. In all cases, it’s an individual calculation that we at Comfort Control Heating and Air Conditioning can work out for you.
In 1987, the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA – Public Law 100-12) set national standards for residential air-cooled central air conditioners and air-source central heat pumps. The NAECA provided for a federal minimum standard of 10.0 seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) for split-system air conditioners and heat pumps, effective January 1, 1992, and 9.7 SEER for single-package air conditioners and heat pumps, effective January 1, 1993. Heat pumps also became subject to federal standards of 6.8 heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) for split systems, effective January 1, 1992, and 6.6 HSPF for single packages, effective January 1, 1993.