The energy efficiency of ACs is all about SEER ratings, EER ratings, and Energy Star labels. But other than learning that higher numbers mean better efficiency for your AC, how much do you really know about these ratings? Though they’re calculated similarly, these two efficiency ratings mean different things, and the numbers they produce don’t equate. Learn more about SEER and EER ratings and what they mean for the efficiency of your AC system.
What is SEER?
This stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and it describes how much energy an AC uses to produce a certain amount of cooling. These ratings apply to central air conditioners, and when companies and professionals talk about a system’s rating, what they’re referencing is the system’s energy efficiency.
How Do ACs Acquire These Ratings?
To determine an AC’s SEER rating, you have to divide its cooling output by the amount of energy it consumes. This determines the number that appears as the rating on HVAC equipment, like SEER 10 or 16. The higher the number, the more efficient the system. It’s worth noting that ratings also take into account temperature and humidity when making these calculations.
Higher ratings mean better energy efficiency, which has a twofold benefit: first, the system will save you money on energy bills, and second, the system will reduce your carbon footprint and help the environment. As of 2006, the minimum requirement for central air conditioners is a SEER rating of 13, and systems with higher ratings receive an Energy Star label from the Department of Energy. Older systems typically have low ratings between 6 and 10, making them extremely inefficient compared with today’s newer models.
If you want superb energy efficiency, make sure the AC you’re installing in your home has the highest efficiency rating available. Combined with correct sizing and installation, you’ll see a great improvement in AC efficiency.
What is EER?
This stands for Energy Efficiency Ratio, and like SEER ratings, the numbers come from dividing an AC’s cooling output by its energy usage. EER applies to room ACs like window units as well as to central ACs. When calculating the energy efficiency ratio, the temperatures inside and outside are typically set, and humidity is presumed at 50%, meaning the numbers don’t equate with those seen on the SEER scale. EER 13 and SEER 13 don’t mean the same thing, though higher numbers still indicate better efficiency.
Standards today require that room ACs have a rating of at least 8, but if you’re hoping for better energy efficiency, you should get something 10 or higher. These ratings also earn ACs Energy Star labels for especially good energy efficiency. Old ACs can have ratings as low as 5, and upgrading to a higher rating will cut your energy bills significantly each month. Double your EER rating and see double the savings.
Is One Better Than the Other?
SEER ratings have more to do with your area’s specific climate, and a unit’s advertised seasonal efficiency rating might actually go down if you live in an extremely hot climate. This means you have to take your climate into account when looking at these ratings. A professional can advise you how Savannah’s climate will affect the ratings of the units you’re looking at.
EER ratings are better for comparisons. They don’t factor in seasons, so they aren’t as variable as SEER ratings. The EER rating lets you know how different AC systems work under the same conditions. They won’t tell you how efficient a system will be specifically in your area at a certain temperature, but they will give you a good idea of how two AC units stack up against each other. Professionals understand and can speak to you about both types of ratings.
Your best resource for both ratings is your HVAC technician. Whether you’re looking to install a more energy-efficient system or simply want to understand how much energy your current AC saves you, call Impact Heating and Air, LLC today at (503) 510-9637.
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