HVAC Energy Efficiency Ratings and What They Mean - Parker & Sons

You might have heard of things like SEER, EER, and HSPF ratings before. But do you know what they mean and what they stand for? Next time you’re looking to replace your HVAC unit, or if you’re ever curious about the ratings on your current device, be sure to know these terms and what they mean for energy use and efficiency.


SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. In effect, SEER measures the electrical input needed to run your AC unit over one cooling season. Although this number is an average, it’s important to be aware of in terms of energy usage and overall cost. When looking at a new HVAC system, it should be important to be aware of this number, and always try to buy the device with the highest SEER rating possible. Unfortunately, this means that you’ll be spending a bit more on the device itself, but a higher SEER means a lower overall operating cost, despite the bigger investment in the device. Luckily, a higher SEER ratings also correlates with greater energy efficiency. In this day and age, it’s definitely best to choose a device with a higher SEER rating to both be environmentally cautious as well as making an investment to save energy costs in the long term.


Similar to SEER ratings, EER stands for Energy Efficiency Ratio. However, unlike the SEER rating, EER is more of an overall, lifespan rating. In effect, think of EER in terms of mile per gallon (MPG) on your car. The EER system is an estimate of how long the device will last over a number of years of usage. The EER is based on higher operating temperatures, and usually kicks into gear around temperatures 95 degrees and higher. The rating is also computed with humidity removal, which means that it can also show how your AC unit is performing under the maximum cooling load.


Just like SEER, HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) ratings measure energy efficiency over one full season. The ratio is established through measuring the amount of heat generated and total amount of electricity consumed. It’s important to note that all split-system heat pumps made in 2015 or later are required to have an HSPF rating of at least 8.2, and single units a rating of at least 8. The maximum, regardless of the actual device, is 10.

Keep these important ratings in mind next time you’re looking for a new HVAC device, and for any installations, repairs, or questions, don’t hesitate to call a Parker and Sons professional!

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