- On March 2, 2023
What You’ll Learn
As you read this comparison of 14 SEER Vs. 16 SEER air conditioning units, you’ll learn:
- SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and it’s a measure of an A/C unit’s cooling output divided by its energy consumption.
- The higher SEER rating your air conditioner has, the less energy it requires to cool your home.
- Choosing an air conditioner with a high SEER rating can save you a lot of money on your utility bills, especially here in Arizona.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio
When you start shopping to buy a new air conditioner, you’ll find that units are described with something called SEER, now SEER2. SEER2 is short for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio 2. This calculation is basically measuring the unity’s cooling output during the summer divided by its energy consumption during the summer.
If you want to get more technical, this calculation divides the total number of BTUs (British Thermal Units) of heat an air conditioner can remove from the air by the watt-hours of energy the unit consumes. You don’t have to bother with the actual equation when you buy a new air conditioner, though. All you really need to know is that a higher SEER rating means the air conditioner is more efficient.
When you shop for a new air conditioner in Phoenix, you won’t find any options that are rated at less than 14 SEER. The Department of Energy has made 14 SEER the minimum efficiency rating for our region. Most air conditioner brands max out at 21 SEER, but premium options like Trane air conditioners can actually achieve up to 22 SEER.
How Much Money Does a Higher SEER Rating Save?
Without getting into the technical weeds, this answer depends on several factors:
- How much higher is the SEER2 rating? Even the difference between a 14 SEER vs. a 16 SEER unit can be significant. When you’re comparing a new 16 SEER unit to an 8 SEER unit from decades ago, the difference is enormous.
- Where do you live? For people who live in cool climates where A/C is only required a few days a year, the savings will be small. However, when you live here in Phoenix and need your air conditioning almost every day of the year, the savings will be huge when choosing a unit with a higher SEER.
- How big is your home? Bigger buildings have more air to treat, which means there’s more work for your A/C to do. Since there’s more work, scaling up the efficiency leads to even bigger savings. Still, even people with small homes might see a big difference in their utility bills when upgrading their air conditioners.
- How much does your energy cost? When energy costs rise , having a more efficient unit will yield even more significant savings.
14 SEER Vs. 16 SEER Efficiency Comparison
If you’re on a budget, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself choosing between a 14 SEER unit and a 16 SEER unit. Of course, if you can afford an even more efficient air conditioner, that’s ideal, but most people are looking for units around this level. To get an idea of just how much more efficient a 16 SEER unit is than a 14 SEER unit, you can simply divide 16 by 14.
The result is 1.14, so a 16 SEER unit is 1.14 times as efficient as a 14 SEER unit. In other words, it’s 14% more efficient. That might not sound like a huge deal until you apply that to your energy bills. When you can cut 14% out of your cooling costs, your utility bills will get significantly lower, which adds up to some serious savings over time.
For every $100 you’d spend to cool your home with a 14 SEER A/C, you’d only pay roughly $86 with a 16 SEER A/C. Now think about how much you run your air conditioner and how high your energy bills typically get. Over several years, a more efficient unit can save you several hundreds of dollars or even more.
14 SEER Vs. 16 SEER Cost
The price of a new air conditioner depends on factors like the quality you choose and the size of your home. However, in most cases, selecting a 16 SEER unit instead of a 14 SEER unit will cost you at least $300 more. This might sound like a lot until you compare that to your energy savings; however, in hot climates like the one we have here in Phoenix, and the rest of the valley, a more efficient unit will save you money in the long run. The cost savings you get will pass the added cost of the unit within a few years in most cases.
Should I Get 14 SEER or 16 SEER?
It makes more sense for Phoenix residents to choose a 16 SEER air conditioner in almost every case. Average homes in this area have their air conditioners running for over 2,000 hours each year. That can take a severe toll on your energy bill, and upgrading from a 14 SEER A/C to a 16 SEER A/C reduces that burden by 14%.
Why Choose 16 SEER Air Conditioning
Most people choose a higher SEER to save money in the long run, but there’s another reason, too. More efficient units use less energy, which reduces their carbon footprint. In other words, you’re helping the environment even as you save money on your electricity bills.
Is 14 SEER Good Enough?
While a higher SEER2 is preferable, a 14 SEER air conditioner is still great. It might not be as efficient as other new units, but it’s almost definitely more efficient than the old air conditioner that’s currently in your home. So if you’re choosing between a new 14 SEER air conditioner or grinding it out with your outdated unit, go ahead and get that 14 SEER!
Other Factors That Affect Air Conditioning Efficiency
In addition to choosing a high SEER2, there are a few other things you can do to make cooling your home more efficient. First, setting your temperature to even a degree or two higher can significantly reduce energy costs over time. Second, keeping your ducts clean and in good condition allows treated air to reach your rooms more efficiently. Finally, keeping up with your A/C maintenance helps your unit operate as efficiently as possible.
Benefits of Energy Efficiency for HVAC
When you choose an efficient air conditioner like a Trane and take great care of it, you’ll reap a few benefits:
- First, save money on your utility bills every month.
- Second, go longer before you need to replace your HVAC system.
- Third, reduce your carbon footprint by using less energy.
HVAC Service Phoenix
Here at Howard Air, we’ve been serving the Phoenix community since 1977. In our many years of business, we’ve formed strong bonds with those who count on us to keep their homes comfortable. We’ll always provide you with informed professional opinions about your options, helping you choose the best unit. Visit our showroom or contact us to learn more.
Featured Image: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock