SEER2 Savings Calculator: Which SEER2 Unit Is A Smarter Choice?

In 2023, the SEER rating was replaced by the SEER2 rating. Because the now old SEER is numerically not the same as the new SEER2, the old SEER savings calculator cannot be used as the SEER2 savings calculator. To compare air conditioner and heat pump cooling costs in 2023 and onwards, we need to use the SEER2 savings calculator (you will find it further on).

Here is the change that requires a transition from the SEER calculator to the SEER2 calculator:

As we have written in our post about understanding the new SEER2 rating here, the DOE ushered in a new set of HVAC energy efficiency ratings (SEER2 along with EER2, HSPF2, and COP2). These new efficiency ratings were first introduced in the 2017 DOE paper ’10 CFR Part 430′ in accordance with ‘The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA)’.

In short, the US Department Of Energy has changed the test conditions we measure SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) at. Specifically, the external static pressure in the air conditioner and heat pump testing was increased from 0.1 in. WC to 0.5 in. WC.

The seasonal energy efficiency rating measured under these new 2023 test conditions is known as SEER2 or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio 2. It is still calculated by same as the SEER rating (with 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% partial loads) using this equation:

SEER2 = (1 × EER100% + 42 × EER75% + 45 × EER50% + 12 × EER25%) / 100

Here are some examples of how this SEER to SEER2 transition (due to different external static pressure) changed how to think about AC units and heat pumps:

  • 14 SEER unit is now 13.4 SEER2 unit.
  • 16 SEER unit is now 15.3 SEER2 unit.
  • 18 SEER unit is now 17.2 SEER2 unit.

Essentially, the new SEER2 rating is about 4.5% lower than the old SEER rating (due to harsher testing conditions: the blower motor has to work harder to push air against higher external static pressure, and thereby consumed more watts).

different seer2 mini split ratings
Due to harsher test conditions, the SEER2 rating is 4.5% lower than the old SEER rating. This calls for re-calculation of energy expenditure based on the new SEER2 rating.

When comparing energy costs for running different AC units and heat pumps, we use the SEER calculator. This is the main tool that helps us determine how much we are going to pay for running AC units with different SEER ratings.

With SEER2 replacing the SEER rating, we also have to replace the SEER calculator with the SEER2 calculator.

As you will see in the all-encompassing SEER2 chart further on, running a SEER2-rated AC can cost anywhere from $52.76 per year to $791.40 per year (1000 running hours at $0.1319/kWh electricity prices).

To help everybody out, we have prepared this set of resources that will help you with SEER2 calculations, and air conditioner and heat pumps running costs in 2023 and onward:

  1. SEER2 Calculator. Here you insert the SEER2 rating and size of an AC unit or heat pump (tonnage), and the calculator will determine how much you are likely to pay for cooling.
  2. All-Encompassing HVAC SEER2 Chart. To get a clear idea of AC running costs, we have calculated the seasonal cost of running an AC unit or a heat pump for a 1-6 ton unit with the SEER2 rating spanning from as low as 12 SEER2 to as high as 30 SEER2, and summarized them in a neat chart.
  3. Comparison Of Different SEER2 Unit Running Cost (X SEER2 Vs Y SEER2). To illustrate which unit makes financially viable sense, we have compared 14 SEER2 vs 16 SEER2, 16 SEER2 vs 18 SEER2, and 18 SEER2 to 20 SEER2, and so on.
  4. Comment Section (Important). If you have any questions regarding the calculations, or if you were cited prices for two or more AC units or heat pumps, you can give us some numbers in the comments below, and we will try to help you out with SEER2 running cost calculations for cooling.

Let’s start with the SEER2 savings calculator you can use yourself:

SEER2 Calculator (How Much Will Cooling For Different SEER2, Tonnage AC Units Cost)

For calculating the seasonal cooling cost based on the SEER2 rating and tonnage, we presume that you run the unit for 1000 hours/season. Obviously, the cost of running any electric-powered air conditioner and heat pump, and the price of electricity per kWh matter as well.

We used the US national average electricity price of $0.1319/kWh. If you are paying much more or much less for electricity, you can give us the numbers in the comments below and we will use them to calculate the running costs and savings compared to lower SEER2 units.

In this SEER2 calculator, you just insert the SEER2 rating and tonnage. The calculator will tell you the seasonal cooling cost of the unit with these specs:

Here is how to you can use this as a mini split energy consumption calculator:

Let’s say you are looking at a 3 ton 16 SEER2 mini split air conditioner and would like to how much would it cost to run it per season.

You can set:

  • 1st SEER2 slider to ’16’.
  • 2nd Tonnage slider to ‘3’.

Here is the result the calculator will give you: Running a 3 ton 16 SEER2 mini split air conditioner will cost $296.77 per cooling season.

This is just one example of a SEER2-rated air conditioner. You can play around with the calculator to see how the running cost per season changes if you change the SEER2 rating (or AC tonnage).

To help you out, we have calculated these cooling costs for 12-30 SEER2 and 1-6 ton units per year (or cooling season) and summarized the results in this chart:

Heat Pump And AC SEER2 Running Cost Chart

This is quite a big table, you can scroll right to 6-ton AC and heat pumps, and down to 30 SEER2 rating:

SEER2 Rating: 1 Ton AC: 1.5 Ton AC: 2 Ton AC: 2.5 Ton AC: 3 Ton AC: 4 Ton AC: 5 Ton AC: 6 Ton AC:
12 SEER2 Unit: $131.90 Per Year $197.85 Per Year $263.80 Per Year $329.75 Per Year $395.70 Per Year $527.60 Per Year $659.50 Per Year $791.40 Per Year
13 SEER2 Unit: $121.75 Per Year $182.63 Per Year $243.51 Per Year $304.38 Per Year $365.26 Per Year $487.02 Per Year $608.77 Per Year $730.52 Per Year
14 SEER2 Unit: $113.06 Per Year $169.59 Per Year $226.11 Per Year $282.64 Per Year $339.17 Per Year $452.23 Per Year $565.29 Per Year $678.34 Per Year
15 SEER2 Unit: $105.52 Per Year $158.28 Per Year $211.04 Per Year $263.80 Per Year $316.56 Per Year $422.08 Per Year $527.60 Per Year $633.12 Per Year
16 SEER2 Unit: $98.93 Per Year $148.39 Per Year $197.85 Per Year $247.31 Per Year $296.77 Per Year $395.70 Per Year $494.62 Per Year $593.55 Per Year
17 SEER2 Unit: $93.11 Per Year $139.66 Per Year $186.21 Per Year $232.76 Per Year $279.32 Per Year $372.42 Per Year $465.53 Per Year $558.64 Per Year
18 SEER2 Unit: $87.93 Per Year $131.90 Per Year $175.87 Per Year $219.83 Per Year $263.80 Per Year $351.73 Per Year $439.67 Per Year $527.60 Per Year
19 SEER2 Unit: $83.31 Per Year $124.96 Per Year $166.61 Per Year $208.26 Per Year $249.92 Per Year $333.22 Per Year $416.53 Per Year $499.83 Per Year
20 SEER2 Unit: $79.14 Per Year $118.71 Per Year $158.28 Per Year $197.85 Per Year $237.42 Per Year $316.56 Per Year $395.70 Per Year $474.84 Per Year
21 SEER2 Unit: $75.37 Per Year $113.06 Per Year $150.74 Per Year $188.43 Per Year $226.11 Per Year $301.49 Per Year $376.86 Per Year $452.23 Per Year
22 SEER2 Unit: $71.95 Per Year $107.92 Per Year $143.89 Per Year $179.86 Per Year $215.84 Per Year $287.78 Per Year $359.73 Per Year $431.67 Per Year
23 SEER2 Unit: $68.82 Per Year $103.23 Per Year $137.63 Per Year $172.04 Per Year $206.45 Per Year $275.27 Per Year $344.09 Per Year $412.90 Per Year
24 SEER2 Unit: $65.95 Per Year $98.93 Per Year $131.90 Per Year $164.88 Per Year $197.85 Per Year $263.80 Per Year $329.75 Per Year $395.70 Per Year
25 SEER2 Unit: $63.31 Per Year $94.97 Per Year $126.62 Per Year $158.28 Per Year $189.94 Per Year $253.25 Per Year $316.56 Per Year $379.87 Per Year
26 SEER2 Unit: $60.88 Per Year $91.32 Per Year $121.75 Per Year $152.19 Per Year $182.63 Per Year $243.51 Per Year $304.38 Per Year $365.26 Per Year
27 SEER2 Unit: $58.62 Per Year $87.93 Per Year $117.24 Per Year $146.56 Per Year $175.87 Per Year $234.49 Per Year $293.11 Per Year $351.73 Per Year
28 SEER2 Unit: $56.53 Per Year $84.79 Per Year $113.06 Per Year $141.32 Per Year $169.59 Per Year $226.11 Per Year $282.64 Per Year $339.17 Per Year
29 SEER2 Unit: $54.58 Per Year $81.87 Per Year $109.16 Per Year $136.45 Per Year $163.74 Per Year $218.32 Per Year $272.90 Per Year $327.48 Per Year
30 SEER2 Unit: $52.76 Per Year $79.14 Per Year $105.52 Per Year $131.90 Per Year $158.28 Per Year $211.04 Per Year $263.80 Per Year $316.56 Per Year

Here is how you can use this table

Let’s say you have to choose between 16 SEER2 and 18 SEER2 3-ton air conditioners. How much will use save if you pick the higher energy efficiency 18 SEER2 unit?

You can read this from the table:

  • 16 SEER2 3 ton unit will cost $296.77 per year to run.
  • 18 SEER2 3 ton unit will cost $219.83 per year to run.

The difference in running cost is $76.94 per year. That means $769.40 savings in 10 years and $1538.80 savings in 20 years.

Most AC units and heat pumps will last for 20 years. That means that if the 18 SEER2 unit is less than $1538.80 more expensive than the 16 SEER2 unit, you should still go with the 18 SEER2 unit because you will save more in electricity savings than the difference in the price of the initial unit.

We can also look at the running cost percentage difference for different SEER2 rated air conditioners and heat pumps:

X SEER2 Vs Y SEER2 Comparison

Choosing a unit with a 1 SEER2 higher rating will usually result in about a 5% difference in energy efficiency. Here are some examples of this:

  • 15 SEER2 vs 16 SEER2 = 6.67% savings per SEER2.
  • 16 SEER2 vs 17 SEER2 = 6.25% savings per SEER2.
  • 17 SEER2 vs 18 SEER2 = 5.88% savings per SEER2.
  • 20 SEER2 vs 21 SEER2 = 5.00% savings per SEER2.
  • 22 SEER2 vs 23 SEER2  = 4.54% savings per SEER2.

Usually, we are quoted AC and heat pump prices with a 2 SEER2 difference from HVAC companies. Here are the percentage difference in energy efficiencies for most commonly quoted SEER2 ratings:

  • 14 SEER2 vs 16 SEER2 = 14.3% electricity savings.
  • 16 SEER2 vs 18 SEER2 = 12.3% electricity savings.
  • 18 SEER2 vs 20 SEER2 = 11.1% electricity savings.
  • 20 SEER2 vs 22 SEER2 = 10.0% electricity savings.
  • 14 SEER2 vs 18 SEER2 = 28.6% electricity savings.
  • 14 SEER2 vs 20 SEER2 = 42.9% electricity savings.
  • 16 SEER2 vs 20 SEER2 = 25.0% electricity savings.

There are a lot of possible X SEER2 to Y SEER2 comparisons here. If you need help with AC SEER2 calculations, you can use the comments below, give us some numbers, and we will try to help you out.

To illustrate how to use the SEER2 rating calculator to determine which SEER2 rated AC unit or heat pump to choose, let’s look at one of the most common examples:

14 SEER2 Vs 16 SEER2 Unit: Which Should You Choose? (Example)

14 SEER2 and 16 SEER2 units are the most common choices. This can change due to the minimum SEER rating in 2023 you can check here, but let’s just see how you go about calculating which option is better here.

Namely, you can have 1 ton, 1.5 ton, 2 ton, 2.5 ton, 3 ton, 4 ton, 5 ton, or 6 ton 14 SEER2 or 16 SEER2 unit. The 16 SEER2 unit will have 14.3% lower running costs than the 14 SEER2 unit.

Using the HVAC SEER2 chart above, we can calculate how much savings you will get by choosing 16 SEER2 unit over 14 SEER2 unit:

AC Or Heat Pump Tonnage: 14 SEER2 vs 16 SEER2 (Per Year): 14 SEER2 vs 16 SEER2 (Per 10 Years): 14 SEER2 vs 16 SEER2 (Per 20 Years):
1 Ton $14.13 Savings $141.30 Savings $282.60 Savings
1.5 Ton $21.20 Savings $212.00 Savings $424.00 Savings
2 Ton $28.26 Savings $282.60 Savings $565.20 Savings
2.5 Ton $35.33 Savings $353.30 Savings $706.6 Savings
3 Ton $42.40 Savings $424.00 Savings $848.00 Savings
4 Ton $56.53 Savings $565.30 Savings $1130.60 Savings
5 Ton $70.67 Savings $706.70 Savings $1413.40 Savings
6 Ton $84.79 Savings $847.90 Savings $1695.80 Savings

As you can see, even with smaller 2-ton AC units, you can save more than $500 in 20 years if you choose 16 SEER2 unit over 14 SEER2 unit.

With bigger cooling capacity units (4 ton, 5 ton, and 6 ton), the 16 SEER2 unit will save you more than $1000 in 20 years compared to the 14 SEER2 unit.

If the price difference you are quoted is lower than these 16 SEER2 savings, the 16 SEER2 unit is a better choice than the 14 SEER2 unit. If, on the other hand, the 16 SEER2 unit would cost $2000 more than the 14 SEER2 unit, the 14 SEER2 unit is more financially viable.


All in all, we hope you now understand how to use the SEER2 savings calculator to determine the energy consumption of different HVAC cooling units (mini split energy consumption, for example).

You will probably get quotes different SEER2 units with difference prices. If you share these numbers in the comments below, along with the electricity price per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in your area, we can help you calculate which SEER2 unit makes more sense for you.

7 thoughts on “SEER2 Savings Calculator: Which SEER2 Unit Is A Smarter Choice?”

  1. I’m hopeful you can populate the SEER2 and tonnage AC Units based on my kWh cost. SCE rates vary by time of day. Our highest rate is $0.30387. If you can only use one, please use this value.

    If you can calculate with more rates, here are ours:
    $0.28281 Mid peak rate (Winter 4pm-9pm)
    $0.23976 Off peak rate (12am-8am and 9pm-12am)
    $0.22429 Super off peak rate (8am-4pm)
    [$0.30387 Peak (Summer 4pm-9pm)]

    Also, if you can provide the SEER2 formula I can calculate these for myself.

    Thanks, Rick

    Reply
    • Hi Rick, nice, these kWh costs are super data points. As you have suggested, the SEER2 formula would be very useful. Here is how you do the calculation:
      1) SEER2 can be used to calculate the average power draw (wattage) of the unit like this: Wattage = AC BTUs / SEER2. Example: Let’s say you have a 3-ton unit with 20 SEER2. You need to convert 3 tons into BTUs; 1 ton = 12,000 BTU, thus 3 tons = 36,000 BTU. You divided these 36,000 BTU by 20 (since SEER2 is 20) and you get 36,000 BTU / 20 = 1,800W. So, this unit would consume 1.8 kWh per running hour.
      2) Multiply average wattage (calculated above) by running hours. So, in our case, we have 1.8 kWh per hour electricity usage. In lets say 1000 hours (DOE uses this as average yearly usage) that would be 1800 kWh per year.
      3) Multiply kWh usage by kWh price. In your case, the kWh cost is about $0.30/kWh, so we would have 1.800 kWh × $0.30/kWh = $540 worth of electricity per year.

      We can write this whole calculation in one equation like this:

      AC Running Cost = (AC BTUs / SEER2) × Running Hours × Price Of kWh ($/kWh) / 1000

      Hope this helps.

      Reply
      • Hello, Since this equation is the same equation that has been used to calculate SEER1 in the past (before SEER2 existed) shouldn’t you first convert SEER2 to SEER1 and then run AC Running Cost = (AC BTUs / SEER1) × Running Hours × Price Of kWh ($/kWh) / 1000 if you put 16SEER and 16SEER2 into the equation they will come back with the same estimated cost unless you convert SEER2 to SEER one. Or is there something that I am missing?

        Reply
        • Hi Raymond, a very good insight. Suprisingly, you don’t have to do that. Namely, the SEER2 vs old SEER difference is due to different test conditions. When you apply these harsher test conditions for SEER 2 (0.5 vs 0.1 inch. WC), the resulting running cost will be different as well. 16 SEER2 and 16 SEER units don’t have the same efficiency; but when you calculate the running cost with the only formula we have, you get the same running cost. It’s the test conditions difference, the math stays the same. Hope this helps.

          Reply
  2. The annual and service life energy cost savings are only part of the metrics needed to compare the cost effectiveness of units of different SEER2 ratings. Higher SEER@ rated units cost more. The unit cost is the initial investment and the energy savings are the returns in a series of cashflows. A more informative analysis is to do a net present value (NPV) marginal cost analysis comparing the lowest SEER2 unit to the higher SEER2 units. The marginal cost/savings would be the cost difference in the lowest unit compared to the higher SEER2 units and the subsequent savings per year. A discount rate of 3-5% would be appropriate for the 10-20 year series of cashflows. From your data chart, a 4 ton unit would save $1,131 over 20 years. The current cost difference between a 14 and 16 SEER2 units is about $1,000-2,000. Without any discounting of the future savings the higher SEER2 unit is most likely not cost effective. But cost versus value may not be the only consideration when deciding on a unit. Comfort improvements from using a variable or inverter system and the associated controls may provide additional value to an owner that is willing to pay for the additional comfort.

    Reply

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