Choosing a new cooling system can be a daunting task. How do you make sure you’re getting the most efficient system for the value? As much as half your total household energy use is consumed by heating and cooling, so selecting the right product can make a big difference in your bill. One objective way to compare new cooling units this summer is through energy efficiency ratings, which are set and monitored by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Heat Pump Efficiency Ratings
For heat pumps, the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) evaluates and measures efficiency over the course of one entire season as a ratio of heat generated to electricity used. The maximum possible HSPF for heat pumps today is 10, with the United States governing bodies requiring all units manufactured in 2015 or later to have an HSPF of at least 8.
Air Conditioning Efficiency Ratings
Air conditioning efficiency is most commonly measured using the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). The SEER is similar to the HSPF in that it compares how much cooling the system generates to the electrical input required to run the air conditioner over one average cooling season.
The EER shares some qualities with the SEER, but it is tested based on higher operating temperatures and takes into account humidity removal. It is useful because it demonstrates how an air conditioner performs under maximum cooling load.
Using both designations in your decision-making is helpful because the EER is valuable for measuring how your system will function during a mild fall or spring day in Cincinnati, while the SEER is a good measurement of how it will function in the dog days of summer. High-efficiency air conditioners typically start at 16 SEER and 13 EER.
How to Decide
Take into account the various energy ratings when choosing a new system. Higher rated units generally come with a higher cost, so it’s important to consider your budget alongside the savings you’ll see over the life of the system. Call Nelson Comfort of Cincinnati today to speak to one of our NATE-certified professionals about your questions around selecting a product.