SEER Savings Calculator – Is High SEER Really Worth the Money?

SEER Savings Calculator

This size is typically for a 750 to 1000 Sqft house.
AC Size by Tonnage:
SEER of Old Air Conditioner:
SEER of New Air Conditioner:
old air conditioner Old AC Consume $405 / Year
new air conditioner New AC Consume $192 / Year

Your Electricity Savings

$100/1 Year
$1065/5 Years
$2131/10 Years
$3196/15 Years

Based on cents/kWh for (updated in June 2018).

Based on yearly cooling hours typical for (by the EPA in 2002).

SEER Savings Calculator

How to Get your Savings Results

The three slide bars are adjustable. Click on the right size/SEER or grab and slide the button to it.

  1. Set the AC Size using the sliding button

Size can be determined using the Model # on plate on the unit. An 18 in the model number means it is 1.5 tons. 24=2 tons, 30=tons, 36=3 tons, 42=4 tons and 60=5 tons. For example, the Lennox ML14SCI-036 is a 3-ton AC.

  1. Set the SEER of the old unit

SEER is more difficult to determine if you don’t know it. Typing the brand and model # into a search engine is your best bet.

  1. Choose the SEER of models you’re considering

You can raise or lower the new AC SEER bar to compare with the old AC SEER (e.g. 14 SEER vs 16 SEER) to see what your costs savings would be and whether it’s worth the extra cost! If the savings really add up, they will pay for the higher cost of the more efficient AC. If they don’t amount to much, then a very efficient AC might not be cost-effective.

How to Avoid Being Ripped Off and Get a Fair Price

In the HVAC industry, the markup for profit is 35% to 50% among contractors with a good reputation.

Busy companies usually add 70% to 100% profit. This often happens in the worst heat of summer when overburdened ACs and heat pumps quit. Unqualified companies usually bid lower but sacrifice the installation quality. This often leads to premature failure or efficiency loss of your HVAC system.

To help our readers avoid being ripped-off or scammed. We developed this Free Local Estimate Tool (supported by Networx). This estimate has already filtered unqualified contractors and busy companies who want to overcharge you.

Once you chose the right contractor, remember to use the tactics from this guide: Homeowners Tactics When Negotiating with HVAC Dealer to get a better price.

Written by

Rene has worked 10 years in the HVAC field and now is the Senior Comfort Specialist for PICKHVAC. He holds an HVAC associate degree and EPA & R-410A Certifications.
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52 thoughts on “SEER Savings Calculator – Is High SEER Really Worth the Money?”

  1. Bryant 14 SEER A/C with electric heat. $4600.- dollar is this a good price? And is this a efficient? My house is 2040 square feet. Florida

    • Hi Rene,

      I have a 22 year old Trane 3 Ton. The coil is bad and I am spending too much money in occasional repairs. Have just decided to finally change the entire unit; my contractor (licensed and insured) is suggesting either a Payne or Bryant 3.5 tom, 15 SEER both. I went to back to him asking for a 16 SEER and if there is a price difference and how much IS THIS WORTH IT?).
      He is also cleaning and sanitizing the air ducts, changing the plywood where the unit sits, changing copper lines, seal and insulate the plenums, new float switch, insulation, tie downs and has quoted me between $4500 and $4900. Is this reasonable? Also I read between Payne and Bryant, the last brand is a better one versus Payne which I read is a BUDGET brand. Is this accurate? IS the price right?
      thank you so much, I appreciate your help in making a wise decision !

      • Payne, Bryant, Day and Night, and Carrier are all the same, manufactured by the same company, that comes with all 4 name plates for the installer to attach the brand you purchased, and the price may have a premium due to the name you chose. The higher the Seer the higher the price, each Seer may save you $30 per month, 14, 15, 16 up to 21 Seer from a 14 seer maybe a $200 a month savings but much more expensive. Ask, who makes the compressor, it may have a Copeland Scoll compressor. Carrier units have been plagued with various issues over the years. One of the better quality AC systems that is much Cheaper is from China named Media. The company has been around 50+ years. They make refrigerators, freezers, portable AC units, and much more. They have AC units installed in over 190 countries and Carrier merged with them to install all AC systems throughout India under the name Carrier Media. a 4 ton unit would be around $3500-$4000

    • I just want to thank those who replied to you Linda. Like you, im in the same position. some replies are very,very helpful.
      Many thanks Linda from a Fellow American Benbrook, TS (Ft Worth TX)
      jimmy Kendall

  2. Is it customary for an HVAC company to only give a total estimate and not show me what my product will looks like or how much the air conditioning unit cost without labor?. El Cajon, CA

      • Get a contractors license and do it yourself.. maybe you will Then respect The hard work an expert knowledge you “pay” for by not cheating our legitimate licensed contractors out of their business..thinking we’re all out to rob the customer smh .. it’s none of your business the mark up of profit if you can’t legally purchase it for yourself anyway!

        • Sorry Dick-Head, but honestly there’s no reason for a 2 year trade school contractor to charge $500/hr for his/her services other than sheer capitalistic greed. Also, it is more than fair to not give your business to someone that wants a 50% profit margin on a task because you simply don’t know or “can’t” do something. By that same logic, it’s alright to over charge the elderly in their nursing homes because they can no longer wipe their own asses. Contractors perform work and the PAYER deserves honest work for honest pay, not dishonest work for up charge pay. Contractors get a wholesale price and have very little overhead costs unless they’ve bought prime real estate for a overzealous business building lol. A $2k rheem system that costs $4k to install is the equivalent of your $15k car being $30k to fix

          • Thank you so much Aaron for your words of wisdom. As a woman, I am so tired of having to fight contractors with over zealous marked up prices that’s outrageous!! It’s so unfair. They have bamboozled my elderly mother who’s on a fixed income because she didn’t know and she came from a generation of trust of others. I understand that a contractor has to make a profit but they shouldn’t gouge a customer that works hard to get honest service with honest pay. I feel that they markup these prices to pay for their vacations, children’s college funds, toys, etc. Anyways, thanks again! 😊

        • Wow, I will be sure not to hire your company. My salary is posted on a state listing for all to see. My medical proceedures costs are published. My auto mechanic lists pricing for labor and equipment. I can price out wholesale parts and know mark-up. Why should your costs be secret. Really, this is not 1980. I agree, expect to pay for skill, but no secrets!!

  3. My air conditioner is now 25 years old so I need to replace it, I live in an all elelctric house and the current one which is a Trane is a heat pump. I’m trying to get estimates for replace the old A/C and Furnace, maybe update the ducts if needed I want it to have a good warranty and be one of these good brands. I don’t know how to select the SEER but caaan you give me a rought estimate of how much the purchase of a new A/C, heat-pump furnace the right size for 900 square feet.

    • If you don’t have natural gas, then you will use a heat pump unit. with a house that small, you can get by with 2.5 ton, your can choose a Seer from 14 to 21. You will save maybe $30 per month for ever 1 Seer you choose, but the higher Seer unit are much more expensive, and it depends on how long you plan on staying in the house. Installation will very depending if they change out the size of return, use existing vents, ductwork and return vents or put in all new, such as sheet metal versus flex house. Typically, a new elbow, frame/stand and 2.5 ton unit w/labor $3,000

  4. I’ve had 2 estimates for a 1.5 ton 14 seer for $5,985. and $6,785 (both may come down another ($500). The higher quote also offered a 1.5, 15 seer unit for $8,674 (lowering to $8,274). It’s a 650’ apt. Are these prices high?

    • Very expensive, for an apartment either get room window ac systems or a mini split ductless system for each room. Still cheaper, and then use only the room you need

  5. Received a quote for 2 (2.5 ton) Ruud 14 seer ac units, plus heater/blower unit replacements for $13,500. Fair? Destin, FL (32541)

  6. Hi,
    I am trying to decide on a Carrier Infinity 24VNA9 3 ton air conditioner or Carrier Infinity three ton 24ANB7 air conditioner. The unit will be installed out side and above our finished basement. The price difference in Toronto with a compatible furnace is 13,700 vs 11,200 Canadian dollars. Can you help me decide?

    Thank you!

  7. we need to add HVAC to our 600 s/f basement in Atlanta, GA. Recommendation is for 1.5 ton 14 seer RUUD heat pump system. Thoughts?

    • Just get a separate ductless system for your basement, if you don’t need to change out your whole house Ac, that way you don’t mess with the returns and re-calibrate the airflow to re-direct a balance of air to accommodate the basement.

  8. Hi, anybody heard of AIRTEMP, Im getting a new house 1700 sq ft, my contract says that I should be getting a 13 seer 5 ton rheem heating/cooling ac and yesterday I was at the house when AC company delivered a 14 seer 5 ton AIRTEMP so I’m wondering if I should keep this or tell my contractor to get me what my contract says……


    • I switched out at 13 seer Lennox two stage unit for an 18 seer variable stage York Affinty 8T 10 years ago. My electric costs dropped from $450/mo to $245/month. That was in summer. Once I learned to program the multi option thermostat my electric bills went down to about $150/month with PERFECT temp inside aan 1800 sq foot house. Mine is three stories high so I wnet with 3 tons outside and 4 ton air handler inside.
      You MUST have someone who REALLY knows how to connect up ALL features, and change ALL dip switches that control ANY unit.
      But, definitely buy the HIGHEST SEER, and most variable unit can find.
      And, get the BEST installer you can find.
      When you see the savings. THe unit will pay for itself in reduced electric bills in less than an year and a half.
      AND with YORK..get the comfort care warranty. you will not need it unless there was some freeky thing that happened, but well worth it.
      Seriously, the difference will be no more than $1000, but mostly less than that, and your savings will well pay that back, not to mention the comfort in your home.
      Good luck.!
      13, 14, 16., seer is very very old technology and only single stage. it will kill your electric bill. 16 18 21, 26 SEER and multi stage, or at least two stage will make you a happy electric bill payer.
      Please trust what I say.
      Happy holidays.

    • Rheem has problems because the design of the coil system is zigzag, not easy to clean and freezes up. a 5 tons is way to big for your square footage and the run cycles will be short and ineffective in cooling your house down. You should have no more than 4 ton, and unless your contract allows for substitutions, then why would you accept anything other than what you agreed to. Airtemp is made by whom, Feddor, Nordyne? they are not even in the top 10 brands

  9. While researching, I found your website, great information. I figured I would get a second opinion on the price. The house is approx 2100 sq ft, single story
    Trane, model 4TTR6061C1, condenser, tem6A0D60H, air handler
    5 Ton 16 Seer 410A
    Variable Speed Air Handler and Condenser Unit
    Plenum-collars and dampers-drain pan-safety switch
    15 kw heat
    10 yrs warranty on parts 1 yr labor
    1 6,781.00
    SUBTOTAL TAX (8.25%)
    6,781.00 plus tax 559.43
    Question is good or bad price

  10. In the North Central section of the US where summers are short and humidity is low, it appears that a 13 or 14 SEER central air conditioner is good, considering the climate. The considerably increased cost of an air conditioner with a SEER of 15+ won’t be realized in savings for approximately 15 years. Your thoughts on a 13 or 14 SEER air cond. for the region of short summers & low humidity, plz.

    • 13, 14 seer, single stage, very old technology, should be very cheap. you should buy a 2 stage or multi-stage unit to save you on utility expense. How long are you living in the house. How is the insulation in your attic and walls?

  11. My home warranty insurance is purchasing a Carrier Payne’s py4gnab36090N for a 1,500 sq ft home in Northern California, where the summers run in the 100’s at least 3 months a year. Is the unit sufficient and will my utility bill kill me?

    • Sounds like a 3-1/2 ton unit. should be adequate for the size of your house, and if the warranty insurance is paying for the replacement, then the change of your utilities would be insignificant and take forever

  12. I live in Florida and my current system is a Trane XE1100 with 11 SEER. It is 20 years old and I need a new system. My house is 1650 Sq Ft.
    1) Should I go for one cycle or 2 cycle unit?
    2) Should I opt for a 3 ton or higher?
    3) In the 2 cycles, what’s the difference between the XL18i and the XR17?

  13. Hello,
    I live in florida, Tampa bay area. I need a new AC, my home is 1780 sq.ft. I have a 3 ton now..but was recommended a 3.5, w/14 or 16 SEERs, 2 cycle system. Should I go with it? Since someone told me there is not much difference between the 14 and 16 SEERs. Thank you

  14. Due to comfort and reliability concerns, I’m replacing my 14.5 year old hvac system. I currently have an 80% 150k btu furnace and 10 SEER Armstrong system and plan to replace it with a Trane S9V2 120k btu furnace and 5 ton XR16 AC with XL824 Thermostat. Is this appropriate for Omaha? The low bid is $10,350. Is this in the ball park for a quality job?

  15. Purchased 3 ton Trane told 16 seer arrived 14 Seer contractor said it would “achieve” 16 Seer and printed a bogus AHRI cert!! Subcooling he put 26÷freon and tag called for 8+/-3….house size calls for 3.5 ton, his reply, I took 3 out i put 3 in!! Just put a level on the unit it tilts right away from the drain so it leaks water, does not cool, called and called him back never right..Trane no help they make big money on good ole boy cover up is what I see..any ideas how to get what I paid for?

  16. I’ve got a bit of a problem. My mother has been told she needs to replace both her a/c unit and gas furnace. She trusts the supplier/installer as she has her equipment serviced twice a year. My mother has asked me to have a look over the quote and give her some advice. Well I’m not that smart and I live in Melbourne, Australia and my 84 yo mother lives in Riverside, Ca. I went online and read about Trane systems and was overwhelmed by the enormity of negative reviews. Unfortunately the more I read the more confused I became. My mother is about to spend $9,000, which seems reasonable, but is she buying a future problem? The SEER rating is only 14 and it would seem there are units with much better ratings. Are the new Trane systems reliable or has the construction in China compromised the end result? Lots of questions Rene, but they all truly seem to be within your area of expertise. Really need your help. Andrew

    The COMPANY will install 5ton R410 a Trane XR14 quiet run Condenser up to 14 seer with vibration dampening pad. The COMPANY will install new 230 Volt disconnect in whip. The COMPANY will install condenser at discussed location on side the of house. The COMPANY will install Trane gas furnace With matching ADP 5 ton 410A evap coil. The COMPANY will install new gas flex and shut off, new 4″ flue pipe. The COMPANY will install condensation safety switch in secondary drain. The COMPANY will Install new 115 Volt cord to Furnace . The COMPANY will remove and properly dispose of all existing equipment. The COMPANY will seal all connections.

    20 year warranty on Heat exchanger
    10 year warranty on compressor
    5 year warranty on parts
    2 year warranty on labor

  17. It’s a Trane SSSS, does she need 5 tons? Is her house 2100-2400 square feet? How long does she plan on living in the house?

  18. We have two A/C units and need to replace the upstairs one. 2800 sq ft. home so the upstairs is ~1400 sq ft. We live in Austin, Texas. Multiple technicians have stated that our existing ductwork is not optimal and should be replaced.

    We just received our first quote, which included 3 options. All three prices include $3,650 for new ductwork and $1000 for “building envelope” after some local Austin city rebates.

    Option 1: Carrier Performance line – 2.5 ton, 16 SEER, 13 EER. Single stage. $12,269 total

    Option 2: Carrier Performance – 3 ton, 16 SEER, 13 EER. Two stage. $13,872.

    Option 3: Carrier Infinity – 3 ton, 19 SEER, 13 EER. Variable speed. $14,525

    These prices feel high but I’d love some feedback. The equipment/install alone is quoted at $10k – $13.6k.


    • Mike,
      I think those prices are way out of line. I was bid for a 5 ton, 15 SEER, Lennox, installed $6,500. Also check the Better Business Bureau for reputable dealers in your area.

    • Mike, here in South Texas where we have the high humidity and summer temperatures the price for all the prices are “Way Out of Range”. Try to ask for other bids from at least 3 contractors and “different brands”.

  19. I have quotes to replace an existing A/C unit with a:
    Lennox Seer13…$3673
    Carrier Seer13…$3670
    Heil Seer13…….$3355
    Carrier Seer16…$4205
    Heil Seer16……$3827
    Are these reasonable quotes?
    Is it worth(efficiency savings..electric) moving to the Seer16 quotes?

  20. I live in Houston, TX in a 2100 sq. ft. house. The current AC and furnace are at least 14 years old and AC is failing. Technician recommends replacing both at the same time.

    4 ton 14 Seer 410A Rheem Condenser w/pad.
    5 ton Rheem gas furnace w/new stands, new gas flex, flue pipe and 20x25x4 media filter.
    5 ton slab coil w/plenum, transition, drain pan, float-switch and UV light.

    I questioned the 14 Seer and he believes that is more than adequate and stands by Rheem. Does this price seem fair? Should I consider a higher Seer?

  21. Hello,

    I have two units in my 3091 sq ft home. The upstairs unit (24 year old Rheem) quit a few days ago. The other unit is still going strong.

    Two part question:

    My guy that I trust has recommended a Heil, 13 seer, 2.5 ton. We have a 2.5 ton Rheem (I think 9 or 10 seer). I’m getting very mixed reviews on the heil. Some are saying it’s top notch. Others say no way.

    2nd question: Should I just go ahead and replace the second unit too since it’s also 24 years old and probably is living on borrowed time?

    Finally since it’s the upstairs unit, would I be better off with a 16 seer, or will a 13 or 14 seer unit be sufficient?

    IL/borderline zone 5/6.

  22. I currently have a Trane 4TTB3048A1000BA Condenser (13 SEER), 4TXCD050BC3HCA Coil, TUC1D100A9601A Furnace (92% AFUE) with reflective flex ductwork with three (3) in-line spring return dampers for a 3 zone system, Honeywell control board and three Nest Gen 3 thermostats. Condenser MFR Date 7/2009, Ser # 9313LHR4F. Entire system was installed in 2009. House is 2780 sq ft. I live in Raleigh, NC.

    My indoor AC coil is leaking as measured by my local Tech. Which would be the best option to pursue: replace the indoor AC coil or replace and upgrade my system from the 13 SEER HVAC to a 4-5 Ton 20-21 SEER HVAC (2 Stage) and replace the 92% AFUE gas fired furnace with a 94% or 96% furnace with variable speed blower?

    Looking forward to your reply. Great information on this site.

    • Usually AC will last for 10-15 years but for Trane it can last for 15-20 yearsif it is installed by Qualified contractors and maintained properly. Replacing the leaking coil is jsut OK and did you get a quote for replacing leaking coil? Also, 21 SEER is a bit overkill for NC.

  23. I have 30 years old 11 seer trane ac unit. It is leaking freon, since it is so old so I check to see how much new system will cost me. I got two estimates. one didn’t say much on the eatimate paper, but 3 1/2 tone american stand $6390.00 complete install. The second one is more clear. It says 3 1/2 tone trane xr16 split system. All new condenser/air handler, HT pump, 8 Kw, Duct replacement says inspect. Total cost $8713. 10 year warranty on compressor, Coils, and parts/ 5 year labor. Tony! Can you please let me know should I have new a system installed, and witch is better between these two estimates or none are any good?

    • Hi Cindy

      The quote are fair in terms of the pricing. 5 years labor warranty is rare and most contractors only give 1 year labor warranty. You need to compare the reputation of each one by BBB or Yelp before making the decision. Installation is always the most important part of the whole project. Hope that helps.

  24. My home is approx 1300 sq ft.
    I received a quote ( 12,000) for Rheem ( Classic series) Furnace 75,000 BTU,. 3 Ton evaporator, 2,5 Ton (14 seer) condenser installed. Installation to include chimney liner, permits etc.
    Thoughts on price and proposed equipment for my size home ( built in early 1960s).


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