16 SEER units are 23.1% more energy efficient than 13 SEER units. This efficient difference can produce $100s and even $1000s of 13 SEER vs 16 SEER energy savings over the lifespan of the unit. If you want to make an informative 13 SEER vs 16 SEER decision, you will have to calculate the energy savings.
To help you out, we have prepared these 2 key resources:
- 13 SEER vs 16 SEER Energy Savings Calculator. Here you just insert the AC tonnage (Example: 3-ton unit) and electricity rates (Example: $0.15/kWh), and you will get the 1-year, 10-year, and 20-year savings automatically.
- 13 SEER vs 16 SEER Chart. We have calculated the 1-year, 10-year, and 20-year energy savings for 1-8 ton AC unit, and summarized them in a chart you can find below the calculator.
To illustrate how to calculate 13 SEER vs 16 SEER energy savings, let’s start with an example. Say you get these 2 quotes from your HVAC guy:
- 3-ton 13 SEER unit with installation and labor costs $6,420.
- 3-ton 16 SEER unit with installation and labor costs $7,250.
This is a $830 difference; the 13 SEER unit is cheaper. Now, let’s figure out if the energy saving in favor of 16 SEER unit can surpass the $830 difference in the upfront cost.
We make two presumptions here; the AC unit will run for 1,000 hours per day (as per DOE calculations), and let’s say that our electricity rates are $0.15/kWh.
Here are the electricity usage calculations for both units:
- The less efficient 3-ton 13 SEER unit will run on 2,769 watts. It will use 2.769 kWh per hour. That’s 2,769 kWh per year (1000 running hours) and the associated cost is $415.35/year. That’s $4,153.50 in 10 years, and $8,307 in 20 years. The total cost – $6,420 upfront cost and $8,307/20-years electricity cost – is $14,727.
- The more efficient 3-ton 16 SEER unit will run on 2,250 watts. It will use 2.25 kWh per hour. That’s 2,250 kWh per year (1000 running hours) and the associated cost is $337.50/year. That’s $3,375 in 10 years, and $6,750 in 20 years. The total cost – $7,250 upfront cost and $6,750/20-year electricity cost – is exactly $14,000.
In this situation, the 16 SEER unit will produce $77.85/year energy savings compared to the 13 SEER unit. In 20-year lifespan, you can see that the “cheaper” 13 SEER unit is actually $727 more expensive than the 16 SEER unit (since the 13 SEER uses that much more electricity).
Now, these calculations are quite lengthy. You might not be looking for a 3-ton unit, and your electricity rates might note $0.15/kWh. To shorten them and help you out, we have created a 13 SEER vs 16 SEER calculator you can freely use (insert AC tonnage and electricity prices, and you will get 1-year, 10-year, and 20-year savings).
We have also calculated these savings for 1-8 ton units and summarized the energy savings results in a neat chart (you will find it after the calculator):
13 SEER Vs 16 SEER Energy Savings Calculator
Here is how to calculate 13 SEER vs 16 SEER savings with this online calculator:
Let’s say you are looking for a 4.5-ton AC unit and are deciding between 13 and 16 SEER units. Your electricity rates are quite low; $0.12/kWh. To calculate savings, just slide the 1st tonnage slider to ‘4.5’ and the 2nd electricity price slider to ‘0.12’. Here is the result:
By choosing 16 SEER over 13 SEER units, you will be saying $93.46/year. That is $934.62 in 10 years, and $1,869.23 in 20 years.
Now, if the 16 SEER unit is by $1,869.23 more expensive than the 13 SEER unit, you would go with 13 SEER unit. If, however, the price difference between 13 SEER and 16 SEER unit is only, say, $1,000, the much more financially viable choice would be the 16 SEER unit.
Here is the full chart for 1-8 AC units with 1-year, 10-year, and 20-year savings at $0.15/kWh electricity rates:
13 SEER Vs 16 SEER Chart For 1-8 Ton Air Conditioners
|Unit Size (Tonnage):||1-Year Savings ($):||10-Year Savings ($):||20-Year Savings ($):|
|1 Ton||$25.96 Savings Per Year||$259.60 Per 10 Years||$519.20 Per 20 Years|
|1.5 Ton||$38.94 Savings Per Year||$389.40 Per 10 Years||$778.80 Per 20 Years|
|2 Ton||$51.92 Savings Per Year||$519.20 Per 10 Years||$1,038.50 Per 20 Years|
|2.5 Ton||$64.90 Savings Per Year||$649.00 Per 10 Years||$1,298.10 Per 20 Years|
|3 Ton||$77.88 Savings Per Year||$778.80 Per 10 Years||$1,557.70 Per 20 Years|
|3.5 Ton||$90.87 Savings Per Year||$908.70 Per 10 Years||$1,817.30 Per 20 Years|
|4 Ton||$103.85 Savings Per Year||$1,038.50 Per 10 Years||$2,076.90 Per 20 Years|
|5 Ton||$129.81 Savings Per Year||$1,298.10 Per 10 Years||$2,596.20 Per 20 Years|
|6 Ton||$155.77 Savings Per Year||$1,557.70 Per 10 Years||$3,115.40 Per 20 Years|
|7 Ton||$181.73 Savings Per Year||$1,817.30 Per 10 Years||$3,634.60 Per 20 Years|
|8 Ton||$207.69 Savings Per Year||$2,076.90 Per 10 Years||$4,153.80 Per 20 Year|
As you can see, by choosing a 16 SEER unit over a 13 SEER unit, you are saving:
- Anywhere from $25.96 to $207.69 per year.
- Anywhere from $259.60 to $2,076.90 in 10 years.
- Anywhere from $519.20 to $4,153.80 in 20 years.
With these calculations, and the calculator and chart to help you out, you are now well-equipped to calculate 13 SEER vs 16 SEER energy savings and make an informed decision. If you would need a hand, you can use the comment section below, give us some figures, and we can help you out.