ac energy efficiency
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When you decide to install a new air conditioning unit, it’s important to understand different rating acronyms so that you can make an informed decision. You will see these acronyms and symbols printed in the sales literature.

These acronyms are mostly related to energy efficiency of your AC system. If you understand these acronyms, you can easily compare different units for their efficiency and determine the unit that’s perfect for your home space.

ac energy efficiency

Unfortunately, you won’t find much help from the salesman if you try to ask about the symbols and acronyms printed on the literature and box packaging. But we at poeair want to make it easy for you, so here is a detailed overview of this gibberish. Read through it and ask any questions that you may have by the end of this guide.

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)

A unit with higher SEER rating will be more energy efficient.

SEER simply measures the energy efficiency of your AC unit based on a seasonal average. Unlike some other ratings, SEER doesn’t compare results with laboratory conditions. To be precise, it’s a mathematical ratio between cooling output and electricity usage.

seer ac energy efficiency


For SEER rating, the cooling output is measured in British Thermal Units (BTU). Usage of electricity is measured in Kilowatt-hours. This ratio will help you understand how your unit will perform throughout the year.

As a general rule, you want to look for an AC with a minimum SEER rating of 14 for warmer areas. On the other hand, you can buy a unit with a minimum SEER rating of 13 when the unit is to be installed in a colder climate. Modern AC units can have SEER rating anywhere between 20 and 28.

Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER)

A unit with higher EER ratio will give you lower energy bills.

EER is the measurement of the cooling output of your air conditioner unit. It’s the ratio obtained by dividing cooling output (BTUs) by electricity usage in KW.

Unlike SEER, EER ratio is not seasonal. It’s computed under specific lab conditions that consider the highest temperature of the year. Ideally, you want to buy a unit with EER above 11.6 when living in hot weather.

Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF)

To ensure that your AC unit has an efficient heat pump, you should buy a unit with minimum HSPF rating of 8. Anything above that would help you bring down the energy bills.

HSPF is the measure of the efficiency of a heat pump. It means by looking at HSPF rating of a unit, you can easily estimate the heating efficiency of an air conditioning unit. Mathematically, it’s the ratio of total heating in BTU divided by total electricity used by your heat pump. This ratio is computed for the entire heating season.

How to buy the right air conditioning unit this year?

Next time you want to buy an AC unit, you can translate the gibberish and actually make a real decision based on what you know. Make sure that you compare SEER, EER, and HSPF for different units and then make a decision based on your budget, area to be cooled, and expected energy costs.

Here are some quick pointers to help you pick the best AC for you quickly.

  • Buy a unit with higher EER rating
  • Go for an AC with high SEER rating
  • Ignore HSPF if you are buying an AC unit without heating feature
  • Go for higher HSPF rating when your AC includes a heat pump
  • Consider the area of your room

Buying the best AC unit is important but at the same time, you also want to make sure that you pay attention to maintenance to keep it operating at highest possible efficiency. You can easily reduce the energy consumption of your unit by simply keeping it free from dust. Regular AC maintenance is as important as buying a high-efficiency AC unit.


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