14 vs 16 SEER: What AC rating is best for your Los Angeles home?
One of the first things a homeowner considers when buying a new air conditioner is SEER rating. SEER rating stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The higher the SEER rating, the less energy the air conditioner will use to cool your home.
While SEER ratings can go all the way to 28, higher-SEER air conditioners require a larger up-front investment. That’s why many homeowners on a budget choose between the national minimum SEER requirement (14) or a slightly higher-SEER AC (16).
For Los Angeles homeowners choosing between 14- and 16-SEER systems, we recommend going with a 16-SEER air conditioner for the most long-term savings. This is taking into account that California has the highest electricity rates out of all the states. That said, if you’re on a tight budget, a 14-SEER air conditioner is still considered energy-efficient and is a solid option.
How much a 16-SEER AC save in the long run?
After reading our initial recommendation, you’re probably wondering how much a 16-SEER AC can save you long-term.
The increased efficiency of a 16-SEER AC system can save you up to 37% per year on energy costs. The accumulated lifetime savings with a 16-SEER AC will give you a much better return on your initial purchase.
Besides the benefit of lower electrical bills, many higher-SEER systems (16+) come with advanced technology such as a variable-speed blower or a two-stage/variable-speed compressor. These components allow your AC to run longer at lower speeds, which makes for more consistent and accurate temperatures and extends the lifespan of the AC.
Other factors to consider before choosing a 16-SEER AC
While a 16-SEER AC makes sense for many San Antonio homes on paper, it depends on factors specific to your home.
Before buying a 16-SEER AC, you’ll want to consider the following questions:
What’s the condition of your ductwork? When your ductwork has significant leaks or holes, your air conditioner has to run longer to cool your home. This means you won’t see the cost savings of a 16-SEER air conditioner unless you have your ducts repaired (which we highly recommend).
Is your home well-insulated? A poorly-insulated home makes your air conditioner work harder to keep you cool, which can negate any cost savings you’d get from a 16-SEER AC.
How often do you have a professional maintain your air conditioner? Getting regular maintenance for your air conditioner not only extends the life of the unit, but it also makes your AC more energy efficient. If your AC never (or rarely) has professional maintenance, it will lose efficiency and can cancel out the long-term savings of a 16-SEER system.
If you’re unsure about any of these questions, you should call a reliable HVAC contractor to inspect your home. After a thorough inspection, they’ll let you know if you can actually get the savings from a 16-SEER AC and they’ll recommend a system that works for you.
Want an AC recommendation from a trusted Los Angeles professional?
At Jon Wayne, we believe fast, reliable and honest service is essential to providing a breath of fresh air experience for our customers. That means when you ask for a SEER recommendation from one of our experts, you’ll get transparent information and upfront pricing so you can make an informed decision.
Learn More about what to expect if you choose to hire us by visiting our Air Conditioning page.