What Do Air Conditioner Ratings Mean?
Your HVAC system uses more energy than anything else in your home, so efficiency is important when you’re shopping for new equipment. Boosting efficiency allows you to maximize savings while maintaining a high level of comfort in your home.
Air conditioner ratings for efficiency were developed to help the consumer make better choices when shopping for a central air conditioner or a heat pump. When you’re shopping, pay attention to these two ratings on the EnergyGuide label that appears on central A/Cs and heat pumps.
For central air conditioners or heat pumps, the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER, is the rating to look for. SEER tells you the average amount of energy required to attain a certain cooling output over a cooling season and at varying temperatures. Older equipment might have a SEER of 6, which is quite inefficient. Newer equipment is likely to have a SEER of 10 or above. Currently, the minimum SEER for our region is 13. That means any equipment you might purchase that was manufactured after January 1, 2015, must have a SEER of at least 13.
Some newer air conditioners attain SEERs of 20 or above by adding such features as variable speed air handlers and thermal expansion valves.
EER stands for energy efficiency ratio and is important when determining A/C efficiency at peak cooling time. The ratio is obtained under a single set of temperature and humidity conditions by dividing the input electrical power (watts) by the BTUs, or British Thermal Units, which are the amount of cooling produced. This ratio is calculated at an outdoor temperature of 95 degrees F, and an inside temperature of 80 degrees F, with 50 percent humidity.
Understand that because an air conditioner has a high SEER, it may not necessarily have a high EER.
At Sobieski Services, Inc, our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about air conditioner ratings and other energy and home comfort issues — especially HVAC and plumbing issues — so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.