13 SEER vs 16 SEER – Differences Explained

What should you know about the differences between 13-Seer and 16-Seer? In this article, we’ll explore the main differences between the two. But what is SEER anyway? SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. This metric will help you as a homeowner to pick what best suits you, either between energy saving or the upfront costs.

While a 13-seer air conditioner can be much cheaper than a 16-seer air conditioner, it is not as energy efficient as a 16-seer air conditioner is. A 16-seer air conditioner provides more comfort when it comes to cooling and humidifying your home.

How does a 16-seer differ from a 13-seer air conditioner?

Typically, 16-seer air conditioners are equipped with 2-stage compressors that have two speeds (the low and the high speed). This means that they can save you energy costs when you run your air conditioner for long hours on the low-speed setting.

On the other hand, 13-seer air conditioners have single-stage compressors that run at full blast only (at single speed). A two-stage compressor can run for longer at low speed on mild days, running at low speed means even temperatures and reduced indoor humidity.

Apart from the SEER factor, there are also other variables that need to be taken into consideration before you finally decide on what air conditioner to get. These variables include, for example, the size of your home and the region where you live.

There are geographical regions that do not get hot for a long time like the Northeast or Northwest and so if you live in that region, an air conditioner with a higher SEER rating won’t save you much.

Is 13 SEER or 16 SEER better?

Is 13 SEER or 16 SEER better?

A 16 seer two-stage air conditioner will provide better humidity control, especially on days when you just need a little bit of AC. The efficiency of your system will still vary depending on your current ductwork among other variables

Typically, a 16-SEER air conditioner with a 2-stage compressor will dehumidify 15 % better than a single-stage 13 seer air conditioner.

Let’s look at this example,

 If both the 13 seer and the 16 seers are of the same size, say 3-ton, how much will you save over a period of 10 to 20 by choosing to buy one with a higher seer rating?

Let’s start by calculating roughly how much it will cost to run a 13-SEER AC with a 3-ton capacity per year.

Calculating the Annual Energy Savings Between 13 and 16 SEER

1.       To find the annual energy saving costs between the 13 and 16 SEER AC, we need to find the total yearly costs for each of the two air conditioners (assuming they are both 3 tons and run the ac for 1000 hours) by using the following formula:

[(Size of AC in tonnage x 12,000) / SEER] x 1500 = amount of Watt-hours used annually

So, for the 13 and 16-SEER, we’ll get.

·         13-SEER: The yearly cost will be [(3 tons x 12,000) / 13] x 1000 =2,769,000 Watts/hour (rounded off to the nearest thousand)

·         16-SEER: The yearly cost will be [(3 tons x 12,000) / 16] x 1000 =2,250,000 Watts/hour (rounded off to the nearest thousand)

2.       The second step is to calculate the difference between the 13 and the 16-SEER annual cost. That is 2,769,000-2,250,000= 519,000 Watts/hour

3.       Our third step is to convert our answer in step 2(which is in watts/hours) to Kilowatts per hour. We do this by dividing by 1000.

So, 519 000/1000= 519 KW/h

4.       Now our fourth and final step is multiplying our answer in step 3 by the average rate of electricity. Let’s say the average cost of electricity for Georgia is 13 cents/KWh. So, we’ll get

519 X $0.13=$67.47

From this, we can see that a 3-ton 16 SEER air conditioner in Georgia can save $67.47 annually compared to a 13 unit of the same size.

Over a period of 10 years, you should expect a 16 seer to save about $674.7

For estimate’s sake, we are going to assume 1000 running hours, 3-ton air conditioners.

SEER and the expected savings in yearly energy costs

Seer1st Seer yearly cost ($)2nd seer yearly cost ($)Yearly saving costs ($)
13 SEER vs 14 SEER359.97334.2925.68
13 SEER vs 16 SEER359.97292.5067.47
13 SEER vs 20 SEER359.97234.00125.97
14 SEER vs 16 SEER334.29292.5041.79
14 SEER vs 18 SEER334.29260.0074.29
14 SEER vs 20 SEER334.29234.00100.29
15 SEER vs 16 SEER312.00292.5019.50
16 SEER vs 17 SEER292.50275.2917.21
16 SEER vs 18 SEER292.50260.0032.5
16 SEER vs 20 SEER292.50234.0058.5

Are 16 SEER ACs worth the extra money?

Are 16 SEER ACs worth the extra money?

This depends on what you are considering. If you are only looking at the efficiency part, then the 16-seer air conditioner is not worth the extra cost. All other things being equal, a 16 seer, 36000 BTU air conditioner will most likely just save you $67.47 dollars a year. And that means it will probably not even pay for the price difference over its lifespan.

It is only worth the extra cost when you are taking other variables into consideration.

Is 13 SEER good enough?

How good enough a 13-SEER AC is will solely depend on many variables but generally, a 13-seer ac is the bottom grade. That’s to say, a 13-seer air conditioner is the minimum standard.  

Is More AC seer always better?

More AC seer does not necessarily mean better. But how much will a 16-seer air conditioner save per year? This will depend on many factors, including the size of your ac in BTUs, the rate of electricity in your area, and the cooling hours. With that at hand, you can definitely have a clear average seasonal saving.

13 seer vs 16 seer noise levels: Which one is quieter?

Air conditioners with two-stage compressors can be quieter than those with single-stage because they don’t have to always run at the highest speeds. The available lower speed setting makes them quieter

Other SEER Guides:

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