When you're in the process of buying a new air conditioner, heat pump or heating system, you'll see numerous energy efficiency ratings listed on the units. These indicate how much the system will cost both for your initial investment as well as to continue operation. The most common system performance measurements are seasonal energy efficiency ration (SEER) and energy efficiency ration (EER). The higher the unit's efficiency rations, the lower the cost of energy to use, however, that could also mean a higher initial investment. In addition, a highly rated heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) means a more efficient air-source heat pump.
What does SEER mean?
SEER shows the electrical input required to run the A/C over one average cooling season, compared to how much cooling the system generates. This rating is assigned based on an average, lower temperature of 82 degrees. You should know that a 16-SEER A/C achieves this rating within this temperature range but not at higher temperatures.
What does EER mean?
EER, on the other hand, is more like calculating the "highway miles" of the system, as it's tested based on higher operating temperatures, generally 95 degrees or higher. This rating also takes into account humidity removal, and it's useful because it shows how an air conditioner performs under maximum cooling load.
Why is knowing these terms important when considering purchasing an air conditioning system? Many homeowners are looking to install an A/C system that functions in both mild, warm days, as well as hot, humid days. It is important to remember that an A/C unit with a high SEER rating won't necessarily also have a high EER rating so you must look at both ratings to make the best purchase for your home comfort. But which is more important, SEER or EER? EER measures a snapshot of a moment in time, whereas SEER measures usage over time. Therefore, HVAC experts say SEER represents a more important number to pay attention to for long-term energy usage.
What does HSPF mean?
The heating seasonal performance factor, like SEER, measures efficiency over the course of one entire season as a ratio of heat generated to electricity consumed.
In the United States, split-system heat pumps manufactured in 2015 or later must have an HSPF of at least 8.2, and single package units must have an HSPF of at least 8. The maximum possible HSPF for today's most efficient heat pumps is 10.
Looking at investing in a new air conditioning, heat pump, or heating system and not sure what unit would be best for your home comfort? Contact the energy experts at Wackenhut to discuss HVAC systems with high efficiency ratings and what is best for your home comfort.