I need to replace my A/C unit. What minimum SEER level should the new unit have?


I need to replace my A/C unit. What minimum SEER level should the new unit have?

Asked by abraham

I am looking for an efficient make and model, and to be able to compare different brands I would like to know what SEER level is recommended.

Answer this question


Tammy Schwolsky, LEED AP, GPR, HPwES's picture

The most important factor when purchasing any HVAC equipment is to make sure that it is sized correctly.

When a home is well-insulated and properly air-sealed, a smaller system is usually recommended. When your home is leaky and your ducts are leaky, you do need a larger system to keep your home comfortable. But a larger system costs more money upfront and to operate. Why buy a high-efficiency system if it is being wasted through gaps and duct leakage?

Here are my recommendations:

  1. Have a blower-door and duct-blaster test performed (energy audit).
  2. If needed, upgrade the envelope of the house and the ducts, then test for combustion safety.
  3. Purchase an A/C that is the right size for your well-sealed home. Larger systems can short-cycle, which affects efficiency, comfort and durability.
  4. A 14 SEER Energy Star rating is the minimum and if designed and installed correctly will be just fine. Make sure that your HVAC contractor understands efficiency and that a duct-blaster test is performed post-installation. If the ducts are brand new a minimum of 3% duct leakage is acceptable.

If the envelope and ducts are tight and the system is designed for a balanced air flow, a 2,000 sq. ft. home can be comfortable with a 2-ton system.

The FREUS is a watercooled condensing unit with a good EER rating -- check it out.

If you get a chance, let me know how it goes.