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Purchasing a New Cooling System? 2 Efficiency Ratings Dictate Performance

Posted on June 18, 2013

When you consider purchasing a new cooling system for your home, there are many terms you should know, but two efficiency ratings that can really help guide you to the right model are EER and SEER.

EER stands for Energy Efficiency Ratio. It tells you how efficiently an air conditioner can run. The U.S. Department of Energy assigns an EER rank to air conditioners based on how much energy a particular A/C uses to maintain a certain temperature during simulated outdoor heat in the laboratory.

SEER means Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The SEER rating also measures how efficiently a unit delivers cooling, but the rating is averaged over a year of varying temperatures.

So while you want both the EER and the SEER numbers to be high, the SEER may give you a better idea of your long-term energy costs. Today, all air conditioners sold must carry an SEER rating of 13 or higher,  old units carry lower ratings, and as a result are more expensive to run.

If you have a heat pump, it also carries a SEER rating that applies only to its cooling function. Its wintertime heating rating is HSPF – heating seasonal performance factor.

These numbers don’t tell the whole story, of course. The ratings come from laboratory tests where the humidity is set at 50 percent. We typically get much higher humidity during our Kansas summers. Other factors, like ductwork, play a big role in how well your system runs and how much energy it uses. As a practical point, a wide variety of factors affect different types of central air conditioners and heat pumps.

Talk to a trusted expert before purchasing a new cooling system for your Wichita area home. Please contact us at Comfort Systems for more information on all of your home-comfort needs. We also provide regular maintenance to keep your system running no matter how extreme the temperatures get.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wichita, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about efficiency ratings and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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