What Do Air Conditioner Ratings Tell You?

air conditioner ratings

While shopping for new air conditioning equipment, one factor stands out as most important: energy efficiency. The more energy your HVAC system uses, the more expensive your bills will be. So, while considering which system to buy, take a moment to compare air conditioner ratings. These ratings were created to help you make an informed decision when shopping for a new system.

If you select the best efficiency rating, you will maximize savings while maintaining an ideal level of home comfort. But, what exactly air conditioner ratings mean in plain english and how do you know which one to pick? Let’s investigate.

When shopping for a new air conditioner there are two ratings on the label to consider: SEER and EER.

SEER Ratings

SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio and measures efficiency over an entire cooling season (as opposed to a single temperature). The SEER value is calculated by the cooling output for the entire cooling season divided by the total electric energy input during the same period of time. The higher the SEER rating, the greater the energy efficiency. Ratings range from under 6 for older, inefficient equipment, to 20 or higher for newer equipment. Any equipment you purchase that was made after January 2015 must have a SEER rating of at least 13.

SEER = Seasonal Btu of cooling / Seasonal watt-hours used

Which SEER rating you choose is up to you and your budget. The higher the SEER rating, the more money you will spend on the air conditioner. However, in the long run, a higher SEER will save you money by lowering your utility bills.

EER Ratings

EER stands for energy efficiency ratio and measures how efficiently a cooling system works when the outdoor temperature is at a specific level. This ratio matters most when determining air conditioner efficiency at peak cooling time (95°F). It’s calculated by dividing the input electrical power by the BTUs (British Thermal Units), or in other words, the amount of cooling produced. The higher the EER, the more efficient it is.

EER = (Btu/hr of Cooling at 95°F) / (Watts used at 95°F)

Just because an air conditioning system has a high SEER rating does not mean it has a high EER rating. They don’t always go hand in hand, so be sure to do your research prior to purchasing.

Both SEER and EER can be extremely useful when comparing air conditioning units to purchase, but are not the only way to increase energy efficiency in your home. Check out some of our other tips on improving efficiency and home comfort year round, or contact Comfort Tech for more energy and money saving tips for your home today!