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Question DetailsAsked on 7/14/2017

What are the different Seer Ratings for HVAC systems starting at 13-25

Just want to be sure of my needs for a new HVAC unit prior to purchase and installation.

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Here are some previous similar questions about SEER ratings and what SEER rating is most economic for you, FYI:

More can be found in the Home > HVAC link under Browse Projects, at lower left. Generally speaking, you can buy units in various SEER ratings from 13 (minimum allowed anywhere in US by law, some areas have to be a bit higher) up to about 35. Info on required rating for A/C and Heat Pump systems here -

The efficiency test ratings on units are rounded off to the nearest whole number, but there are no specific industry-standard "groupings" of them - just whatever a particular manufacturer's unit happens to come out to, though most on the market are 13-16 SEER (to meet legal mninimums), then a group in the 16-20 range (commonly labelled "high efficiency", then relatively few above that to the highest on the market (currently commonly labelled "extreme high efficiency".

The highest common production central air systems run about SEER 25 like the Lennox XC25 series, with quite a few mini-split units from Daikin and LG running into the SEER 25-28 range, and the highest rated ones Daikin and Nordic last I checked) run up to SEER 33-35.

In general, unless in an intense A/C area, where you are using it more than probably 90 days a year and your daytime heat index exceeds 90-100 degrees commonly, OR if you are paying extremely high electric rates (over say about 16-18¢/KWHr), generally the savings from a higher than minimum SEER rating are pretty minimal and most people do not want to pay the higher up-front cost for possible 15-20 year savings on a unit which may well not last that long. However, the cost of mini-splits is coming down due to competition, so extreme efficiency units are coming more into the economic range in areas with serious A/C demand.

One other major neglected factor - you generally do not get any more on the house for a higher SEER rating, so if there is a fair likelihood you will move in the next 5-10 years or so, a more efficient unit is unlikely to pay off for YOU, regardless of its overall life-cycle savings potential. I have seen military families wanting to put in high SEER rating units, KNOWING they will be moving in 3 years or less - not a good move. Your funds availability also makes a big difference - basically, taking money out of high-yielding (say 10-12% range) investments or taking out a loan at typically 8-15% can readily eiliminate the benefit of buying a higher efficiency unit.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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