What is a SEER Rating and How Do I Decide Between 14 SEER and 16 SEER?

If you’re a homeowner deciding on an air conditioner, choosing the right one for your needs can be challenging. There are a lot of factors to consider. One of them may be the energy efficiency, or SEER Rating, of the units you are considering.

What Does SEER Mean?

SEER ratings serve as an easy means to communicate and compare energy efficiency. It is a measure of how well your air conditioner will perform over a season when it is in use.

The figure is calculated by comparing the amount of heat extracted from a given volume of air with the energy required to do so. After combining the two measurements, the results are usually rounded to the nearest whole number though sometimes you can find a system featuring a 0.5 level as its rating. A high energy efficiency rating equals a more effective air conditioner.

The 14-SEER vs 16-SEER Cost Comparison

In 2019, the average monthly energy bill in the United States was $115, a decrease from the past several years. Several factors contributed to the decline, including lower energy rates and usage because of more efficient HVAC systems and appliances. However, since then, energy costs have risen and it’s more important than ever to be as efficient with your energy use as possible.

Dealing with the heat of July and August may require homeowners to select a unit with a higher SEER rating. 14-SEER and 16-SEER are two of the most common ratings for air conditioners. Comparing the two ratings with the below factors can help you decide whether an efficient HVAC system is worth the additional cost.


Dividing 16 by 14 gives you 1.14, meaning that a 16 SEER HVAC system is 1.14 times more efficient than one rated at 14 SEER. Thus, a 16 SEER air conditioner is 14% more efficient than a 14 SEER air conditioner. Your utility bills will drop dramatically when you reduce cooling expenditures by 14%, resulting in significant long-term savings. For every $100 spent on cooling your home, a 16 SEER air conditioner costs around $86, compared to a 14 SEER air conditioner.

Think about how frequently you use your air conditioner and the amount of energy you use. For instance, if you pay $400 on average for your monthly energy bill with a 14 SEER system, you’ll only have to pay $344 with a 16 SEER system. A more efficient unit could help you save hundreds or even thousands of dollars.


You must consider your specific needs and the size of your home when finding a new air conditioner. The larger your home, the bigger your unit needs to be in order to cool your home efficiently. You may even require more than one unit, depending on the size and layout of your home.

A 16 SEER unit is going to cost more upfront than a 14 SEER unit. However, investing in a more efficient unit will save you money over time. In most cases, the cost savings will cover the increased cost of the unit within a few years.

Midwest Climate

In the Champaign area, we experience several weeks of temperatures over 90 degrees each summer. Coupled with high humidity, this means that most people’s AC units will go non-stop for many weeks each summer. A high-SEER unity will not have to work as hard to keep your home cool, saving you money on utilities and extending the system’s life.

What Else Affects Air Conditioning Efficiency

Beyond picking a high SEER, there are a few other ways in which you can increase the efficiency of your cooling system. You can save money on electricity over time by increasing your thermostat a few degrees. Maintaining your ducts helps ensure that treated air is delivered to your rooms more efficiently. Last but not least, keeping up with your air conditioning maintenance will ensure that your system is running well.

Choosing the Right SEER Unit for Your Home

The investment in a quality air conditioner that’s right for your home and proper maintenance will yield many benefits, including lower monthly utility costs. As a result, you may be able to go longer without replacing your HVAC system and reduce your carbon footprint. We can help you determine which AC unit is best for your home based on your needs and budget. Give us a call to schedule a no obligation estimate.