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Calories, Saturated Fat and SEER: How to Interpret Air Conditioner Efficiency Ratings

In the spring people often begin thinking about making healthier lifestyle changes.  The nicer weather gets them outside and moving and the prospect of bathing suit season looming usually causes one to pause for a moment before ordering that second scoop of ice cream.  When we try to be healthier we often begin by deciphering the nutrition content on our food.  How many calories is that?  Is that too many grams of sugar?  There are some other positive lifestyle changes that you can make in the spring that do not necessarily involve fat content.  For example, higher efficiency air conditioners are healthier for your wallet and the environment.

Nutritional Facts


Just like with foods, reading about air conditioners can often be just as confusing as reading about the cholesterol, sodium and carbohydrates on nutrition labels.  Though there are debates with food about what is more important to look at whether it is fat, calories, protein etc…, with air conditioners there is really only one important number.  That is the SEER number.  SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The higher the SEER number, the more energy efficient the unit is.  As of January 2006 the minimum SEER rating for an air conditioner is 13, but air conditioners installed prior to that could still be at a lower efficiency level.  Though the minimum is 13, there are air conditioners with up to a 20 SEER rating.

Generally, the higher the SEER number the higher the initial investment price.  However, with greater efficiency comes greater savings down the road.  According to Wikipedia “Seasonal energy efficiency ratio,” by upgrading from SEER 9 to SEER 13, the power consumption is reduced by 30%…  However, the efficiency of air conditioners can degrade significantly over time.[3] Therefore, maintenance (such as cleaning the coils) should be performed regularly to keep their efficiencies as high as possible.”

With all of these savings you could take the extra money and use it to purchase some fancy health foods, like flax seed (what is flax seed?)  If you have any questions or want more information about SEER or air conditioners, please feel free to contact FLAME though we probably will not be the best resources for all of your food related questions.

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