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When you’re buying a commercial air conditioning unit, one of the most important concerns you should have is the unit’s seasonal energy efficiency ratio, or SEER (or ESEER, in Europe). Read on for more information about a unit’s SEER and how it’s useful.

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What Is a SEER Rating?

A SEER rating gives you vital information, at a glance, about how much cool air your commercial air conditioning unit produces, in relationship to how much energy the unit uses. A higher SEER rating means the commercial air conditioning unit is more energy efficient.

Why Does a SEER Rating Matter?

The seasonal efficiency of your commercial air conditioning unit directly relates to the unit’s energy efficiency generally. A more efficient unit will use less power, keeping your power costs down and allowing your business to operate more efficiently.

Replacing an older commercial air conditioning unit  will also keep your building more comfortable. It will also, often, result in quieter operation (because your commercial air conditioning unit will run less, to create the same amount of cool air).

What Standards Does the Government Have About SEER Ratings?

The US government has mandated that, as of January 2006, all new central air conditioning units (commercial or residential) must have an energy efficiency of at least SEER-13. Be aware that window units are exempt from this rating; most of them have a SEER-10 rating.

What SEER Rating Should I Select?

Past the federal SEER-13 requirement, most businesses want to balance energy efficiency with cost effectiveness.  Units with higher SEER ratings typically cost more money than other, less efficient units. If you’re living in a cooler climate where you run your commercial air conditioning unit less, you may be unwilling to buy a more energy-efficient unit, due to the high cost up-front.

If you are in the warmer regions of the United States (such as the Southeast and Southwest), most professionals advise that your commercial air conditioning unit be rated no less than SEER-16. Be aware that in addition to the environmental benefits, buying a more energy-efficient unit will pay for itself in the long run, no matter where you live.

Should I Replace My Old, Low-SEER Unit?

If you have the money to do so, that may very well be wise. The federal government’s ENERGY STAR program advises that you replace your commercial air conditioning unit every 10 years, to take advantage of new advances in energy efficiency. Though there’s a substantial up-front cost for a new air conditioning unit, the benefits are far greater.

If you’re able to afford one, consider getting a unit that’s ENERGY STAR certified, which will have a SEER rating of at least 14.5. However, there are even more efficient units on the market, with SEER ratings of up to 23.

Choosing a commercial air conditioning unit with a high SEER rating may cost more money up front, but it’s one of the easiest ways to save money for your business in the long run. Always make sure that any new units meet the SEER-13 requirement put into place by the federal government. Past that, it’s always a good idea to make sure your air conditioning unit is the most efficient model you can afford. Contact us for a consultation and for further information on our energy saving products.