A S.E.E.R. (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) is the rating and performance standards that have been developed by the U.S. government and equipment manufacturer's to produce an energy consumption rating that is easy to understand by consumers. It has a universal formula and conditioning that can be applied to all units and compensates for varying weather conditions.

Basically, the lower the S.E.E.R. rating, the more energy (electricity) is required to produce the desired effect.

S.E.E.R. OF "6" 
(6 is a very common rating for older units produced prior to the 1990's, when energy was relatively inexpensive)
Produces about 6 BTU/hr of cooling, per watt of electricity

S.E.E.R. OF "12" (12 is very common for newer high-efficiency units)
Produces about 12 BTU/hr of cooling per watt of electricity
This would be about double the cooling effect of a 6 S.E.E.R. unit

This increased efficiency has become more and more important as electricity rates continue to rise.

Below is a graph which shows operating costs for units with different S.E.E.R. ratings.

The graph is based on the following criteria:
* One ton of cooling = 12,000 B.T.U.'s
* The average cooling season in the Chicago land area is 872 full load hours
* The average residential electric rate of $0.10 per kilowatt hour
* Average costs do NOT include the indoor fan motor, which operates continuously with any of the below-listed systems


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Last modified: May 02, 2005