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What SEER Rating Should I Look for In A New AC Unit?

As fellow Houstonians, we understand the need for a high functioning, dependable AC system. There’s just no other way to survive Texas summers! Your old AC system might need to be replaced, or you could be buying a system for a new home – either way, you might be struggling with understanding which AC system is best for you.

One of the main ways AC systems are compared is their SEER rating. For those homeowners who don’t know what a SEER rating is, it can be difficult to know what the best energy-efficient air conditioning replacement is for your home. Mission AC has all the information and tips you need to fully understand your AC purchase.

What Is A SEER Rating?

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The ratio measured is the cooling output of an air conditioner over its cooling season divided by how much energy it uses over that time. This allows customers to know how efficient the AC system is. The higher a SEER rating is, the higher its maximum efficiency is. 

Maximum efficiency means the highest capacity. For example, a car might have a miles per gallon rate, but it doesn’t necessarily perform that efficiently all the time. It’s the same with AC systems. The higher SEER rating does mean the system is capable of being that efficient, but other factors will affect its ability to perform that highly. These factors include location of your home, climate, size of your AC unit and how often/long your unit needs to run.

What Is The Benefit Of Higher SEER ACs?


The higher a SEER rating is, the more expensive the initial cost of the system is sure to be. But the cost to operate it will be directly affected by the SEER rating. The cost of energy used to pale in comparison to the initial cost of AC units, but with energy becoming more expensive, saving on operating costs can make all the difference. A higher SEER rating basically ensures your system is using energy more efficiently, lowering your energy consumption and bill by up to 50% in some cases. 

Cooling Capacity

The higher efficiency of a SEER rating does result in better cooling for your home. AC systems with lower SEER ratings often have single-stage cooling. This means that your system only has one speed it cools at until your home reaches the desired temperature. The system will then shut off, creating a frequent ‘off and on’ cycle.

Higher SEER systems now have two-stage cooling. This means that it has a high and low cooling stage. This system can run more often to regulate the air without so many starts and stops. It also can run on high during hotter weather, and just run on low when the weather is more mild. This is particularly useful for high humidity climates because your AC often needs to run consistently for a long time to clear humidity out of your home. 

What SEER Rating AC Should You Buy?

If you have an older AC system, the odds are you have nowhere to go but up! Before 2005, AC units were only required to run at an average of 8 to 10 SEER. Now, the minimum SEER rating in the northern part of the country is 13 SEER and in the Southern states it’s 14 SEER. So, even the lowest rating at 13 SEER is giving you a big step up. 

An AC system that just needs to be updated requires a little more research. The basic rule is the higher SEER rating the better the AC efficiency, but the price tag will be higher too. Knowing your budget will help you determine which level of system you can afford. Many systems in the 14-15 SEER range are not inefficient just because they’re on the lower end of the SEER spectrum. It’s all about the needs of your home. 


If you have more questions about which SEER rating is right for you, it is a great idea to contact a professional AC company. AC sales representatives might try to upsell you instead of giving you real information, but Mission AC is dedicated to our community. We will help you find the most affordable option for your Houston air conditioning installation. Contact us today!

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