Homeowners searching for the best new HVAC system want one that's efficient and gets the job done. Learn More About SEER, EER, HSPF, & AFUE Ratings
What does HSPF Mean?
While we all want our HVAC system to get the job done, the true test is efficiency.
How well does it perform, and how much energy does it use to deliver the comfort we seek?
Knowing the different measurements of efficiency will help you find the system that can deliver the best results at the lowest cost to you.
What do SEER & EER Mean?
SEER is the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It's a measure of energy efficiency that takes into account seasonal fluctuations. This means that instead of measuring how efficient it is in a controlled environment running all the time, it takes into account increases and decreases in use due to seasonal changes. As we know, home air conditioners don't run consistently year round, they work more in extreme weather and less in mild weather. This makes SEER the more informative efficiency rating for homeowners.
EER is also a measure of cooling efficiency, but doesn't take into account seasonal changes and usage pattern. This measurement of efficiency is better used when searching for a system to use in a space that requires constant cooling. For example, a server room where the environmental factors are steady - the server is the only heat-producing element to take into account, and it never changes. In this example, the more constant, controlled measurement of efficiency (EER) is the most accurate for selecting a system that will best serve the need. There are no seasonal or human elements to consider.
HSPF stands for Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. Like SEER, it's seasonally adjusted, but HSPF is used in determining the efficiency of a heat pump system. The cooling efficiency of a heat pump is still measured using SEER/EER.
Read More About HSPF & Other Efficiency Ratings
Calculating the Savings
You may be wondering what all of this means to you. The first thing you should understand is that a higher efficiency rating means that you will spend less on energy costs to stay comfortable. But how much less will you save? Use the calculations below to estimate your energy cost savings based on the efficiency ratings.
Finding the Savings
However; if you'd rather avoid doing math, here's handy table to help you find the approximate savings. Just locate the high SEER (more efficient model) and the low SEER (less efficient model), and follow the row and column until they meet. In the intersection of the two is the percentage of savings you'll see from choosing the more efficient system.
|ENERGY STAR, Rebates, and Tax Credits |
Products earn ENERGY STAR certification when they meet certain efficiency ratings. For air conditioners, ENERGY STAR products must meet pre-set SEER and EER ratings. Heat Pumps must also meet HSPF ratings. Products that are ENERGY STAR certified often qualify for additional rebates from local utilities or other agencies. You can learn more for your specific area at DSIRE, a database operated by the North Carolina State University.
Through December 31, 2016, certain product installations may qualify for a federal energy efficiency tax credit. For air conditioners and heat pumps, the SEER, EER and HSPF ratings will determine whether products qualify. Follow the link below to learn more.
Tax Rebates for New HVAC Systems