What is the difference between 14 SEER and 15 SEER units? 7.14%. That’s how much less electricity a higher efficiency 15 SEER air conditioner will use compared to a lower efficiency 14 SEER AC unit. Based on this, we can calculate the 14 SEER vs 15 SEER energy savings.
We made a complete analysis of when it is better to choose a 15 SEER unit over a 14 SEER unit as well as when a 14 SEER unit makes a better financial investment. The main consideration is which unit is financially a better choice.
To help you out with the savings calculations, we have created these 2 key resources:
- 14 SEER vs 15 SEER Energy Savings Calculator. You specify the tonnage and electricity rates, and the calculator will automatically calculate how much you will save in 1 year, 10 years, and 20 years if you choose 15 SEER unit over 14 SEER unit.
- 14 SEER vs 15 SEER Savings Chart. We have calculated 1-year, 10-year, and 20-year energy savings for 1-8 AC units (mini splits), and summarized the savings in a neat chart.
Let’s look at 1 quick example to illustrate how to calculate 14 SEER vs 15 SEER savings. Suppose we get these 2 offers:
- 3 ton 14 SEER mini split costs (with installation + labor) $5,310.
- 3 ton 15 SEER mini splits costs (with installation + labor) $5,945.
Can the energy savings justify this $5,945 – $5,310 = $635 cost difference? Let’s calculate, presuming 1,000 running hours per year and $0.15/kWh electricity prices:
- 3 ton 14 SEER mini split runs on average wattage of 2,571W. That means it will use 2.571 kWh per hour, and 2,571 kWh per year. At $0.15/kWh, the running cost will be $385.65 per year, $3,856.50 in 10 years, and $7,713 in 20 years.
- 3 ton 15 SEER mini split runs on average wattage of 2,400W. That means it will use 2.4 kWh per hour, and 2,400 kWh per year. At $0.15/kWh, the running cost will be $360 per year, $3,600 in 10 years, and $7,200 in 20 years.
We can see that by opting for 15 SEER unit over 14 SEER unit (under these conditions), we are saving $25.65 per year. That means $256.60 savings in 10 years, and $513.20 energy savings in 20 years.
We are paying $635 more for a 15 SEER unit. In 20 years, we will save $513.20. Altogether, that still means the 15 SEER unit is more expensive than the 14 SEER unit, despite the 20-year saving.
If, however, the difference in the upfront cost would be $300, for example, the financially more viable option would be a 15 SEER unit.
Now, these calculations can be quite lengthy. To help you out, we have created a calculator that calculates the 1-year, 10-year, and 20-year savings automatically (you just input tonnage and electricity prices). Below the calculator, you will also find the calculated energy savings for 1-8 ton AC units:
14 SEER vs 15 SEER Energy Savings Calculator
Here is how this online 14 SEER vs 15 SEER calculator works:
Let’s say you are buying a 4 ton unit and are deciding between 14 SEER and 15 SEER AC unit. The electricity rates in your area are $0.12/kWh. Just slide the 1st tonnage slider to ‘4’ and the 2nd electricity rates slider to ‘0.12’, and you get the result:
Compared to the 14 SEER unit, the 15 SEER unit will save you $27.43 annually. That is $274.29 savings in 10 years, and $548.57 savings in 20 years.
If the 15 SEER unit, for example, is $300 more expensive than the 14 SEER unit, the cost difference will be offset by the $548.57 20-year savings (you should opt for 15 SEER). If, however, the cost difference is, say, $800, it makes more financial sense to go with the 14 SEER unit.
Here are the calculated 1-year, 10-year, and 20-year savings for 1-8 AC units at $0.15/kWh, summarized in the chart:
14 SEER vs 15 SEER Savings Chart
|Unit Size (Tonnage):||1-Year Savings ($):||10-Year Savings ($):||20-Year Savings ($):|
|1 Ton||$8.57 Savings Per Year||$85.71 In 10 Years||$171.43 In 20 Years|
|1.5 Ton||$12.86 Savings Per Year||$128.57 In 10 Years||$257.14 In 20 Years|
|2 Ton||$17.14 Savings Per Year||$171.43 In 10 Years||$342.86 In 20 Years|
|2.5 Ton||$21.43 Savings Per Year||$214.29 In 10 Years||$428.57 In 20 Years|
|3 Ton||$25.71 Savings Per Year||$257.14 In 10 Years||$514.29 In 20 Years|
|3.5 Ton||$30.00 Savings Per Year||$300.00 In 10 Years||$600.00 In 20 Years|
|4 Ton||$34.29 Savings Per Year||$342.86 In 10 Years||$685.71 In 20 Years|
|5 Ton||$42.86 Savings Per Year||$428.57 In 10 Years||$857.14 In 20 Years|
|6 Ton||$51.43 Savings Per Year||$514.29 In 10 Years||$1,028.57 In 20 Years|
|7 Ton||$60.00 Savings Per Year||$600.00 In 10 Years||$1,200.00 In 20 Years|
|8 Ton||$68.57 Savings Per Year||$685.71 In 10 Years||$1,371.43 In 20 Years|
As we can see, by opting for 15 SEER unit over 14 SEER unit, we are saving:
- Anywhere from $8.57 to $68.57 per year.
- Anywhere from $85.71 to $685.71 in 10 years.
- Anywhere from $171.43 to $1,371.43 in 20 years.
Using this chart, along with the calculator, you can now calculate 14 SEER vs 15 SEER energy savings yourself. If you need a bit of additional insight, you can always use the comment section below, give us some numbers, and we can help you out.