Tag Archives: SEER

Do you know how SEER rating affects your electric bill?

how SEER rating affects your electric bill

You’ve got an air conditioner, or maybe a heat pump, that you use to keep your house cool in hot summer weather. The US government and the HVAC industry rate that air conditioner or heat pump according to a metric known as SEER. You may have heard of SEER before, but do you know how the SEER rating affects your electric bill?


You need to get a handle on SEER, because it directly impacts how much YOU are going to pay each month for electricity.

How SEER Rating Affects Your Electric Bill

I’ve talked about SEER before on the blog, so I’m not going to spend a lot of time talking about what it means. Briefly, SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It’s a rough estimate of how efficiently your air conditioner burns energy to produce air cooling, and higher is always better.

Let’s get back to how SEER rating affects your electric bill. That’s what you’re here for isn’t it?

You’re a clever person. You’ve probably already figured out that a higher SEER rating means you’ll use less energy to power your air conditioner. You’ll save money, because you don’t have to buy as much juice to keep your family comfortable.

Pretty straightforward.

Think Bigger

Don’t think about SEER on just a month-to-month basis. You need to think bigger. You need to think in terms of years and decades.

I like to say that a heating and air unit does not have a single price tag. The price tag everyone sees is the cost to buy it. The price most people don’t see or think about is the price they pay every month to keep that unit running.

That’s where SEER matters.

You can go bottom dollar and buy a 13 SEER unit relatively cheaply. Don’t get me wrong – these are not bad units. 13 SEER is a lot more efficient than the air conditioner our parents had when we were kids.


While you pay a lower up front cost for a lower SEER unit, you’re going to pay a higher relative cost every single month you operate that system.

Now you’re thinking about how that SEER rating affects your electric bill aren’t you? You’re thinking that a slightly more expensive system is going to cost you less every month, and you’re exactly right. The more expensive unit consumes less energy, and that means you pay your utility company less month after month, year after year. Those savings add up to a lot over the life of a typical system.

Now you know how SEER rating affects your electric bill, and, I hope, can make a more educated decision when it comes to your next HVAC purchase.

See the SEER

Every air conditioner and heat pump on the market has a SEER rating. I had no idea what SEER stood for. My first guess was Sudden Electronic Excitement Rambling. That didn’t make any sense to me, so I guessed again. Slippery Eel Environmental Rating was just as nonsensical. Sometimes Eat Salsa Ranchero? Tasty, but I suspected incorrect.

After about 14 hours of guessing, I asked one of my engineers. He told me SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. I laughed, but he insisted that was really what it stood for. He even told me what it means, and I will do my best to convey his wordiness to you.

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio reflects how efficiently an air conditioner or heat pump can operate over, roughly, a season of use. The higher the SEER rating, the better the system. The United States government currently requires new residential air conditioners be at least 13 SEER rated. That’s the minimum you’re going to find on the market.

After I learned this, I immediately decreed all MrCool ductless mini-split heat pumps must be better than the government minimum. I told the engineer to make sure all our units were at least 14 SEER rated. Then he told me our units were already better than the government minimum. Our premium unit is even an astonishing 27 SEER rated.

Nice. A job well done on my part if I do say so myself, and I do.