What the SEER Rating Means for HVAC Efficiency

When choosing a new HVAC unit for your home, one rating to be mindful of is the SEER rating. This measurement, otherwise known as the seasonal energy efficiency rating, is an indicator of how energy-efficient your unit is.

SEER ratings, as determined by the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, were first implemented to ensure that HVAC systems are safe, productive, and environmentally friendly. The SEER rating for an HVAC system is calculated by determining its average cooling output versus the amount of energy it consumes. In general, the higher the rating a unit has, the more efficient and environmentally friendly it is.

SEER Rating and Cost

HVAC systems with higher SEER ratings do cost more, but you’ll more than make up for the up-front cost with significant energy savings on your monthly utility bills. Using less energy also means that you are doing your part to reduce your carbon footprint.

SEER Regulations and Recommendations

The U.S. is divided into three regions based on climate, which means that recommended and required SEER ratings for HVAC units can vary from state to state. Regional guidelines were put in place in January 2015. Until June 2017, older HVAC systems that were not in compliance were still able to be sold. As of now, most HVAC units sold or operated within the United States should be in compliance with updated SEER guidelines.

Northern States

Most of the U.S. falls into the Northern region as it applies to SEER ratings. The minimum required SEER rating is 14 for packaged systems and 13 for split systems. Heat pumps must be rated at 14 or above to be in compliance with regional guidelines.


Southwest regional states include Arizona, Nevada, California, and New Mexico. The minimum SEER rating requirement in this region of the country is 14, regardless of what type of unit you purchase and operate. All AC units must meet an additional EER rating, which calculates a system’s efficient function where outdoor temperatures are consistently above 95 degrees Fahrenheit. This EER rating is a more accurate indicator of performance for homes that endure high heat. A typical EER rating varies from 11 to 12.2.


The South regional states include the following:

  • Delaware
  • Maryland
  • Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Georgia
  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Tennessee
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Louisiana
  • Arkansas
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas

Hawaii and the District of Columbia are also included in this region, and the minimum requirement for a SEER rating is at least 14, regardless of the type of system that is used in a home. There is no EER requirement for homes in this part of the country.

Choosing the Right Rating

When choosing an HVAC system for your home, don’t just assume that bigger is better. Square footage and the floorplan of a home also play an important part in choosing a system that works for you. Units that are too big for a small area will not work well; they will overcompensate. Units that are too small for the square footage of your home will struggle. Both of these systems will cause higher-than-normal energy bills for you, as well as additional strain on your HVAC system. Addressing needed improvements that affect your home’s temperature can ensure more efficient use of energy. Consider these improvements as you seek to improve your unit’s energy efficiency:

  • Resealing ductwork
  • Installing an attic exhaust fan
  • Adding insulation
  • Installing solar screens
  • Installing low thermal emissivity windows
  • Adding a radiant roof barrier

Benefits of a Good SEER Rating

An energy-efficient HVAC system in combination with a home that is well-sealed and ventilated will yield you the most significant energy savings over time. There may even be federal tax rebates available to you if you choose to purchase an ENERGY STAR-certified system. Doing a bit of research to find the right system for your home will save you money as it pertains to your energy bill.

We Have Your HVAC Needs Covered!

Grasshopper Heating & Cooling is dedicated to providing you with quality heating and cooling solutions in the Clifton Park area and beyond. Locally owned and operated since 2016, we have a stellar reputation for HVAC service, and it continues to grow with each satisfied customer. Our NATE-certified technicians are ready to service any AC or heating system that you have in your home, and our five-star customer service ensures that you’ll get the answers you seek for heating, cooling, and improving indoor air quality. Whether you need installation, maintenance, or repair, rely on us.

Contact us today to make an appointment, and you can look forward to more comfortable days ahead.

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