When shopping around for AC systems, you might notice that most units say something about SEER or SEER2. One of the most important things to understand is the difference between the two terms. Especially since new government guidelines have updated SEER and SEER2 requirements, it’s helpful to understand how each rating applies to your HVAC system.
What Do SEER and SEER2 Mean?
When it comes to SEER vs. SEER2, the first thing you need to know is what these acronyms actually mean. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. It’s an efficiency measurement that tests an air conditioner’s cooling ability over the course of a standard cooling season to see how much energy it uses. The resulting SEER measurement is a number between about 10 and 20, and a higher number means a machine is more efficient.
Meanwhile, SEER2 simply stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio 2. Like SEER, it measures air conditioning efficiency. However, it is an updated version of the SEER measurement that uses slightly different calculations. SEER2 is meant to be more accurate and provide more insight into how your HVAC system runs.
How Are SEER and SEER2 Calculated?
The big difference between SEER and SEER2 is simply the way that they are calculated. SEER looks at an AC as it runs at varying temperatures over several months. It considers things like how much power an AC uses to turn on and off and how long the AC has to run to cool the home.
SEER2 also measures all those things. However, it looks at how an AC performs in more realistic conditions. SEER assumes that each AC system is functioning under optimal conditions. Meanwhile, SEER2 allows for things like poorly designed ductwork. To take into account these suboptimal conditions, SEER2 calculations involve running the AC in a system with higher amounts of external static pressure.
Converting Between SEER and SEER2
For any given air conditioner, SEER2 numbers will be lower than SEER. This happens because the more rigorous operating conditions end up requiring a little more energy overall. The precise difference between SEER and SEER2 numbers varies somewhat depending on the system. Generally, a SEER2 will be approximately 4.5% lower than a SEER.
Here are some examples of how common SEER sizes convert to SEER2:
- 13 SEER equals 12.4 SEER2
- 14 SEER equals 13.4 SEER2
- 15 SEER equals 14.3 SEER2
- 16 SEER equals 15.3 SEER2
- 17 SEER equals 16.2 SEER2
- 18 SEER equals 17.2 SEER2
How New Regulations Affect SEER and SEER2 Numbers
The new SEER2 numbers have been launched alongside new government regulations. All new air conditioners are required to meet a minimum efficiency requirement. Starting in 2023, Nebraska guidelines state that new air conditioners must be at least 14 SEER and 13.8 SEER2.
This doesn’t necessarily mean all homeowners with lower SEER models will be required to switch. It just means that when you go to purchase a new HVAC system, all the available models will be at least 14 SEER and 13.8 SEER2. Manufacturers will provide consumers with both SEER and SEER2 numbers, so you can consider both measurements when making your decision.
Which SEER or SEER2 Is Right for You?
Both SEER and SEER2 provide helpful ways of comparing efficiency in HVAC systems. People shopping for air conditioners can quickly look at these measurements and figure out which model is more efficient. Usually, a higher rating is a better choice. It means that the equipment uses less energy and saves you more money on cooling bills. Normally, a SEER of at least 16 is considered to be a high-efficiency model.
However, ultra-efficient equipment can be pricey, and sometimes these high-tech air conditioners cost more than the amount of money they save in energy consumption. To pick the right SEER, you’ll need to compare AC prives, AC operating costs, and how much you prioritize eco-friendliness.
If you’re considering installing a new HVAC system, turn to Xtreme Heating & Cooling LLC. Our team is happy to explain how the various efficiency ratings work and help you pick the correct rating for your home. In addition to AC installations, we also help Omaha residents with repairs, installations, and maintenance on other HVAC systems. To schedule your service appointment, give our team a call today.