12 SEER vs 16 SEER Energy Saving Calculator + Chart

Financially, it makes sense to replace an older 12 SEER unit with a new 16 SEER unit. Right? Well, that depends on the energy savings we will get with the new 16 SEER unit. To help you out with estimating the electricity savings, we have prepared a 12 SEER vs 16 SEER energy savings calculator. On top of that, you will find calculated 1-year, 10-year, and 20-year savings in a neat chart further on.

Namely, the 16 SEER AC unit is 33.3% more energy efficient than a 12 SEER AC unit. That difference can produce $100s of savings in 1 year and $1000s of savings in the next 10 or 20 years, as evident from the chart.

Example: Let’s say you replace a 3.5-ton 12 SEER unit with a 3.5-ton 16 SEER unit. At $0.15/kWh electricity rates and 1000 running hours per year, the 12 SEER unit will use 3,500 kWh per year, costing $525/year. On the other hand, the more efficient 16 SEER unit will use 2,626 kWh/year, costing $393.75/year. The running cost difference is thus $131.25/year. The 16 SEER vs 12 SEER energy savings will reach $1,312.50 in 10 years, and whooping $2,625.00 in 20 years.

12 seer vs 16 seer electricity usage
For 3.5 ton capacity, the 16 SEER unit will use 874 kWh/year less electricity than the 12 SEER unit. If you multiply that by $0.15/kWh, you get to $131.25/year in energy savings.

As we can see, the 12 SEER vs 16 SEER energy savings depend on the following:

  • Size of the unit. In the example, we had 3.5 ton AC unit. The higher the tonnage, the higher the 16 SEER vs 12 SEER energy savings.
  • Electricity prices. In the example, we had $0.15/kWh electricity rates. At higher electricity rates, the 16 SEER vs 12 SEER energy savings increase.
  • Note: We presume 1,000 hours per season running time, in accordance with the DOE EnergyGuide calculation. That means you run the AC 8 hours per day for 125 days (a bit more than 4 months; usually May, June, July, and August).

Now, you probably don’t have a 3.5-ton AC unit, and the electricity cost in your area might not be $0.15/kWh.

To help you out calculating 16 SEER vs 12 SEER energy savings for any unit size (from 1 ton to 8 ton), and any electricity rates (from $0.05/kWh to more than $0.30/kWh), we have prepared a simple calculator you can freely use.

Just insert the AC tonnage and electricity prices, and the calculator will determine the 1-year, 10-year, and 20-year energy savings. Below the calculator, you will also find a chart with calculated 16 SEER vs 12 SEER 1-year, 10-year, and 20-year energy savings for 1-8 tons units (presuming $0.15/kWh electricity rates):

12 SEER Vs 16 SEER Energy Savings Calculator

 

Here is an example of how to use this calculator:

Let’s say you are looking at two units; a 3-ton 12 SEER and a 3-ton 16 SEER unit. Your electricity rates are $0.18/kWh. How much will you save by picking 16 SEER unit over 12 SEER unit? Just slide the 1st tonnage slider to ‘3’ and the 2nd electricity price slider to ‘0.18’, and you get the result:

By picking 16 SEER unit under these conditions, you will save $135.00 per year. That’s $1,350.00 savings in 10 years, and $2,700 savings in 20 years.

Here is the promised 12 SEER vs 16 SEER energy savings chart:

12 SEER Vs 16 SEER Chart For 1-8 Ton Air Conditioners And Heat Pumps

Unit Size (Tonnage): 1-Year Savings ($): 10-Year Savings ($): 20-Year Savings ($):
1 Ton $37.50 Savings Per Year $375.00 Per 10 Years $750.00 Per 20 Years
1.5 Ton $56.25 Savings Per Year $562.50 Per 10 Years $1,125.00 Per 20 Years
2 Ton $75.00 Savings Per Year $750.00 Per 10 Years $1,500.00 Per 20 Years
2.5 Ton $93.75 Savings Per Year $937.50 Per 10 Years $1,875.00 Per 20 Years
3 Ton $112.50 Savings Per Year $1,125.00 Per 10 Years $2,250.00 Per 20 Years
3.5 Ton $131.25 Savings Per Year $1,312.50 Per 10 Years $2,625.00 Per 20 Years
4 Ton $150.00 Savings Per Year $1,500.00 Per 10 Years $3,000.00 Per 20 Years
5 Ton $187.50 Savings Per Year $1,875.00 Per 10 Years $3,750.00 Per 20 Years
6 Ton $225.00 Savings Per Year $2,250.00 Per 10 Years $4,500.00 Per 20 Years
7 Ton $262.50 Savings Per Year $2,625.00 Per 10 Years $5,250.00 Per 20 Years
8 Ton $300.00 Savings Per Year $3,000.00 Per 10 Years $6,000.00 Per 20 Year

As you can see, if we presume $0.15/kWh electricity prices and 1,000 running hours per year, the 16 SEER units will produce these energy savings (compared to 12 SEER units):

  • $37.50 to $300.00 savings per year.
  • $375.00 to $3,000.00 savings in 10 years.
  • $750.00 to $6,000.00 savings in 20 years.

With these calculations, you can now make a more informed decision when deciding between 12 SEER and 16 SEER units. If you need a bit of advice, you can give us some numbers in the comments below, and we will help you out.

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