17 SEER vs 19 SEER Energy Savings Cost Calculator + Chart

Let’s discuss 17 SEER vs 19 SEER AC unit energy efficiency. With a bit of math, anybody can evaluate 17 SEER vs 19 SEER energy savings. Here we will look at exactly how to do the energy savings calculation. To help you out, we have also prepared 17 vs 19 SEER savings calculator you can use yourself, as well as a 1-year, 10-year, and 20-year savings chart (below the calculator).

Here’s the deal:

Let’s say you get two quotes for a 4-ton AC unit you need. The 1st one is for 4-ton 17 SEER unit that would cost $8,125, and the 2nd one is for 4-ton 19 SEER unit that would cost $9,575. Which one do you choose; the 17 SEER or 19 SEER?

Well, as you know, there are 2 main financial factors you should look take into account:

  • Cost of units. 19 SEER unit is pricier than 17 SEER unit. Price difference in our example is $9,575 – $8,125 = $1,450.
  • Electricity usage (in the next 20 years). 19 SEER unit is 11.8% more energy efficient than a 17 SEER unit. These energy savings might surpass the initial cost difference between the 2 units. If the 19 SEER unit can save more than $1,450 on electricity in 20-years (average lifespan), it is a financially more viable choice than the 17 SEER unit. If you are saving only $700, for example, than the 17 SEER unit is a better choice.
difference in kwh usage between 17 seer and 19 seer AC units
The 19 SEER units will require 11.7% less electricity (kWh) than the 17 SEER units to produce the same cooling output.

We use the SEER rating to calculate the average wattage of an AC mini-split, for example. Here is the formula:

AC Running Wattage = Tonnage × 12,000 / SEER Rating

In the case of a 4-ton AC unit, the 19 SEER unit will run on 2,525 watts (average), and the 17 SEER unit will run on 2,824 watts. That means that the hourly running usage difference between these two units is 0.299 kWh per hour. By choosing 19 SEER over 17 SEER unit, you are thus saving 0.299 kWh per hour.

What does that mean in terms of electricity dollars?

Alright, let’s presume you run an air conditioner for 1,000 hours per season and take into account $0.15/kWh electricity rates. At these electricity prices, you are saving about 4.5 US dollar cents every hour if you choose a 4-ton 19 SEER unit over the less efficient 17 SEER unit. Here are the energy savings if you choose a 4-ton 19 SEER unit (vs 17 SEER unit):

  • You will save $44.58 per year.
  • You will save $445.80 in 10 years.
  • You will save $891.60 in 20 years.

Now we can make a 19 SEER vs 17 SEER decision for this case. The price difference is $1,450 in favor of the 17 SEER unit, and the 20-year energy savings are $891.60 in favor of the 19 SEER unit. In this situation, the solution is clear: The 17 SEER unit is financially more viable (accounting for cost difference and 20-year energy savings, you are getting a $558.40 better deal with the 17 SEER unit).

Now, you be looking for a smaller 2-ton unit or a bigger 5-ton unit. Your electricity prices can be as low as $0.10/kWh to as high as $0.30/kWh.

To help you calculate the 17 SEER vs 19 SEER energy savings for your specific situation, we have prepared a calculator that does just that. You insert the AC or heat pump tonnage (1st slider) and electricity rates (2nd slider), and get the 1-year energy savings as a result.

We have also calculated 1-year, 10-year, and 20-year energy savings for AC units ranging from 1 ton to 8 tons (at $0.15/kWh, 1000 running hours/year), and summarized all the results in a neat chart you will find below this energy savings calculator:

17 SEER Vs 19 SEER Savings Calculator

 

Let demonstrate how to use this calculator:

Say you are looking for a 3-ton AC unit and want to calculate 17 SEER vs 19 SEER energy savings. The electricity rates in your area are $0.18/kWh. Just slide the 1st tonnage slider to ‘3’ and the 2nd electricity rates slider to ‘0.18’, and you get the result:

By choosing 19 SEER unit over 17 SEER unit, you are getting $40.18 saving per year. That’s $401.24 savings in 10 years and $802.48 savings in 20 years.

That means that if the price difference between 17 SEER and 19 SEER unit is less than $802.48, you should opt for 19 SEER unit (you will get the difference back in energy savings over the course of the next 20 years). If it’s more than $802.48, the 17 SEER unit is a financially more viable choice.

We have calculated the 1-year, 10-year, and 20-year savings at $0.15/kWh and 1,000 running hours energy savings for a 1-8 ton AC unit. Here is the full chart you can use:

17 SEER Vs 19 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 $11.15 Savings Per Year $111.50 Per 10 Years $222.90 Per 20 Years
1.5 Ton $16.72 Savings Per Year $167.20 Per 10 Years $334.30 Per 20 Years
2 Ton $22.29 Savings Per Year $222.90 Per 10 Years $445.80 Per 20 Years
2.5 Ton $27.86 Savings Per Year $278.60 Per 10 Years $557.30 Per 20 Years
3 Ton $33.44 Savings Per Year $334.30 Per 10 Years $668.70 Per 20 Years
3.5 Ton $39.01 Savings Per Year $390.10 Per 10 Years $780.20 Per 20 Years
4 Ton $44.58 Savings Per Year $445.80 Per 10 Years $891.60 Per 20 Years
5 Ton $55.73 Savings Per Year $557.30 Per 10 Years $1,114.60 Per 20 Years
6 Ton $66.87 Savings Per Year $668.70 Per 10 Years $1,337.40 Per 20 Years
7 Ton $78.02 Savings Per Year $780.20 Per 10 Years $1,560.40 Per 20 Years
8 Ton $89.16 Savings Per Year $891.60 Per 10 Years $1,783.20 Per 20 Year

We can see that 19 SEER units will produce these energy savings, compared to the 17 SEER units:

  •  $11.15 to $89.16 energy savings per year.
  • $111.50 to $891.60 energy savings in 10 years.
  • $222.90 to $1,783.20 energy savings in 20 years.

Using the calculator and this chart, you are now fully equipped to calculate the 17 SEER vs 19 SEER energy savings, and make an informed and financially viable decision. If you need a bit of help, you can give us some figures and quotes in the comment section below, and we can help you out with the calculations. Thank you.

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