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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.

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What others say


Your Expert you send out was so honest with me he was so nice and professional he told me what to do that I didn’t need what I thought I did I’m so use to people coming out and try to take me to the cleaners specially I’m a Senior a Woman and living alone if I ever need any service done I will call you in a Heartbeat you r Technician Danny was super nice and very Professional I’m so glad I found this Company

Ondina Santa Maria

In the 5 years that I have lived in my SF valley home, I have had my AC and furnace die on me. Mike and his team gave me a great deal on new HVAC system, and 2 years later the furnace. I work in the construction industry, and confirmed quality installation and equipment. They paid attention to the little things too, which carries over in my experience. SoCal did maintenance, and the technician Dave recommended improving the duct intakes and filter system. Cannot wait for my home to be colder than a polar bear’s toenails this summer.

David Sire

Angel and Robert were professional and installed a great system of the highest quality. It runs cold and quiet; what more could one ask for?? Great company; great staff; highest of quality and the highest of recommendation.

Joe Baratta

I have been unbelievably impressed and overwhelmingly happy with the quality of the service provided by the team at So Cal Climate Control. From the initial estimate to the install and everything else, everyone we’ve had on this project has been so friendly, professional, and detail oriented. Highly recommend this company if you are looking for HVAC work.

Julie Matos

Great people. A year ago they replaced my duct work so called them when I needed a new furnace. Prompt, quick turn around and very professional. I totally recommend this company!! On the same day, they installed a tankless water heater. These peeps are amazing!

LuAnn Hughes

Overall, this was a very good experience. Customer service was great! The price was reasonable. Installation was scheduled 2 days after we purchased the HVAC system,. They installed the system in approximately 5 hours, and there was no mess. This a very professional operation

Joseph Pecot

Mike sent his team out when our AC failed on the hottest day. It was a late Saturday afternoon and we were staring down having to wait until Monday at the earliest to get someone out. Mike immediately told me his team would be there within 90 minutes, and they showed up on a Saturday evening within the hour! Great service!

Mary Goldstein

Just the best service, honest, reliable company!! Have a new unit, love it.. and have told many people to use this company. I had 3 bids when I was looking for unit and sooo happy I went with my gut feeling! The best, they come out and service too, extremely happy.

Jodi Lasky

So Cal Climate Control was Home Adviser’s first choice, so I called and talked to dispatch. I had a technician ( Chris) at my door within 2 hours.
He was professional, courteous and their price was reasonable.

James Fisher

Wonderful company! From the moment they came to give us a bid for their services to the last minute they were here. Very professional, knowledgeable, and genuine. You will not spend any money you don’t need to spend, they are honest about the work your home needs done, but also honor whatever services you’d like to have done. They respond quickly, and promptly. We had our vents/registers cleaned, old ducts removed, & new ones installed, they took care of the whole process leaving nothing behind. Charles and his crew were great! Respectful, professional, and always on time. Would highly recommend.

Maria Hoz

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