Air Conditioner FAQs: “Which SEER Rating Should I Buy?”

Looking for a new central air conditioner? You may be wondering “What SEER rating should I get?”

It’s an important question since it determines how energy efficient your air conditioner will be.

Sadly, answering this question is not an easy one. It’s like asking, “What MPG rating for a car should I buy?” Higher MPG rated cars usually cost more than lower rated ones. But they can save you more in the long run.

The same goes for SEER ratings and air conditioners:

  • Higher SEER rated air conditioners cost more upfront, but...
  • Higher SEER rated air conditioners cost less to use (meaning lower summer utility bills)

So, it always comes down to this question, “How much are you willing to spend now to save more in the long run?”

Now, that’s a question we can help answer! While we can’t show you how much each SEER rated air conditioner costs (since it varies), we can show you how much each SEER rating affects long-term savings.

Here are some SEER savings calculator tools that do just that.

Calculating SEER rating savings

Energy savings calculator tool

This tool lets you compare long-term utility savings from your old air conditioner to a new air conditioner of a particular SEER rating.

A few things to keep in mind here:

  • You can’t buy an air conditioner below a 13 SEER rating.
  • This tool shows 15-year savings because that’s the average lifespan of an air conditioner.


This tool adds more detail than the previous one, including: information about:

  • Initial cost differences between 2 air conditioners.
  • Payback in years for additional cost (meaning, the additional cost of a higher SEER rated air conditioner)

Here’s how to use it:

  1. Choose “GA-Atlanta” in the city dropdown menu at the top.
  2. Put in your electric rate (if you don’t know it, use $0.10 for an average).
  3. Add the cost, SEER rating and tonnage of the air conditioner units you’re looking to buy.

Obviously, you’re going to need some air conditioner estimates to use this tool.

We can also help with that. Contact us online for an air conditioner installation estimate. Or just call us at (770) 421-8400 and we’ll set up an appointment.

Coolray is your Atlanta-area home comfort expert with specialists in heating, air conditioning, air quality and plumbing. Have more questions? We’d be happy to help – just contact us online.

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