If you’re looking for a new air conditioner you may be wondering, “What SEER should I get?”
Here’s what we recommend for Minneapolis-St. Paul homeowners:
- If you’re on a budget, choose an AC with SEER 14–16. ACs in this SEER range meet national minimum SEER requirements, and you’ll save money by having a lower upfront install cost.
- If maximum comfort levels are important to you, you may consider a higher SEER (17+) unit. These air conditioners have special features that can reduce humidity and provide more even comfort in your home. But keep in mind these will be more expensive.
Let’s go into more detail about both of those scenarios...
Want a more specific recommendation for your home? Give us a call and we’ll send one of our techs to your home to give you a free SEER evaluation.
On a budget? Choose 14 to 16 SEER
Like we said, if you’re on a budget, go with an 14 to 16 SEER air conditioner.
Many online sources will tell you that higher SEER ACs save you money every month on lower energy bills, and that eventually those savings will pay for the higher install cost of the unit.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case in Minnesota.
Let’s look at example, comparing the minimum SEER (14) with a high-SEER unit (17 SEER):
- Carrier Comfort 24 ACC4 14 SEER costs $1,610 just for the unit itself (not including installation)
- Carrier Infinity 24 ANB7 17 SEER costs $2,635 just for the unit itself (not including installation)
So, high-SEER units typically cost at least $1,2025+ more than minimum/mid-SEER units.
Now, in most places in the US, homeowners will easily pay back that higher upfront cost due to the lower monthly energy bills a high-SEER unit provides.
But here’s the bad news: because our summer season is so short, the average Minnesota homeowner won’t use the AC enough to pay back that $1,025 cost difference.
In fact, if you were to choose a 17-SEER over a 14-SEER unit in Minnesota, you’d only save $105 in energy bills over the course of the AC’s lifetime (15 years).
Note: The savings above was calculated using this SEER Energy Savings Calculator. We selected “Minnesota” and used 11.48¢/kWh as the average residential electricity rate in Minneapolis.
The bottom line: Getting a 17-SEER unit in Minnesota isn’t necessarily a cost-effective choice.
That said, there’s still a big reason some MN homeowners still opt for a high-SEER unit: they provide better comfort.
Is comfort most important to you? Choose a high SEER unit (17+)
Money isn’t everything. If maximum comfort is most important to you, then you should go with a higher SEER unit (17+).
Higher-SEER air conditioners have 2 components that help them provide better comfort:
- 2-stage or variable-speed compressor
- Variable-speed blower motor
Each of these components basically allows your air conditioner to adjust its cooling output according to how much cooling is actually needed, which leads to...
- Less humidity. Variable-speed systems run longer at lower speeds, unlike single-stage/single speed systems that only run at full blast. When your AC runs longer at slower speeds during times of high cooling demand, it can remove more humidity from your home’s air.
- More even cooling in all the rooms in your house. Since variable-speed systems run longer, they can more evenly distribute cool air throughout your home.
- Better control for home zoning. Variable-speed motors prevent overpressurization in the ductwork, which makes them ideal for zoning your home (i.e., controlling different temperatures in different rooms).
Want more specific SEER recommendations for your home?
We can help! Just give us a call and we’ll answer your questions and help you schedule an appointment with one of our trusted techs.
Reasons homeowners in the Twin Cities area go with MSP include:
- We offer same-day AC service
- We give upfront pricing so there are no surprises after the project is finished
- You get 100% satisfaction guarantee with any AC install/repair
- We’ve been around for 100 years (3 generations)