HVAC Energy Efficiency Ratings: SEER, EER, And HSPF Explained

September 7, 2023

HVAC systems play a critical role in keeping your home comfortable throughout the year, from keeping temperatures cool in summer and warm during winter. Not all HVAC units are created equal - some are more energy-efficient than others, which is where efficiency ratings like SEER, EER, and HSPF come into play.

To find the right HVAC system for your needs, check out Diamondback Plumbing and Cooling.

SEER: Seasonal energy efficiency ratio

SEER, or seasonal energy efficiency ratio, is all about a system's cooling efficiency. Imagine it as a measure of how effectively your HVAC system can keep your home cool during an average summer season, using electricity for cooling purposes alone. Simply stated, this ratio compares how much cooling the system provides with how much electricity is consumed to produce cooling results.

How is SEER calculated?

The cooling output is divided by the total electric energy input in one summer cooling season (cooling season).

How SEER affects you

Higher SEER ratings reflect how energy-efficient an HVAC system is. A system with a SEER rating of 16 or greater, for instance, can save significant sums during hotter months. However, specific savings will depend on home size, local climate conditions, and electricity costs.

EER: Energy efficiency ratio

EER, or energy efficiency ratio, differs from SEER in that it measures your system's efficiency at a specific outdoor temperature, specifically, a constant 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

How is EER calculated?

It's the ratio of cooling output to electrical power input at a constant 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

How EER affects you

A system with a higher EER can cool your home with less power at hotter temperatures. At temperatures of 95 degrees Fahrenheit, an EER rating of 12 will be more efficient (and thus cheaper) to run than one with an EER of 10, though actual savings depend on many variables, including climate conditions in your locality, size of home and HVAC unit size.

HSPF: Heating seasonal performance factor

Last but not least, we have HSPF, which is the heating seasonal performance factor. This rating measures the efficiency of the heating component of a heat pump over a typical winter season.

How is HSPF calculated?

It's the total heating output (in BTUs) divided by the total electricity consumed (in watt-hours) during a heating season.

How HSPF affects you

A higher HSPF rating means a more energy-efficient system. For example, a heat pump with an HSPF of 8 is considered efficient because it can produce 8 BTUs of heating for each watt of electricity. This could lead to significant energy savings during the colder months. But, like SEER and EER, your actual savings will depend on different factors, like your home size, local climate, and electricity costs.

SEER, EER, and HSPF explained — Conclusion

As with any purchase decision, when choosing an HVAC system, it's essential to consider its SEER, EER and HSPF ratings - though remember these figures only provide part of the picture; additional consideration must be made according to factors specific to your home and individual needs in order to find an HVAC solution suitable.



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