If you are shopping for a new air conditioning unit for your home and are confused by all of the acronyms and numbers you see listed in ads, then you certainly aren't alone. While most people have heard of air conditioner SEER ratings, many can't tell you what that acronym stands for or what it really means in relation to cooling their homes. And, most have never even heard of an EER rating at all!
When shopping for an air conditioner, it's important you understand both SEER and EER ratings and exactly what they mean. This will ensure you purchase the right unit to cool your home on even the hottest days of summer and that you don't waste money by purchasing a unit that is too powerful for the size of your home.
To ensure you have a solid grasp of the energy efficiency ratings for A/C units, here's what you need to know:
The acronym SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency rating. The SEER rating is a number that represents how much power it will take the unit to cool your home over an entire hot season. It is calculated by dividing a summer's total cooling output by how much total power the unit uses during the season.
Typically, the higher the SEER rating, the better the unit will perform in very hot climates and the more energy efficient it will be as well.
Similar to an air conditioner's SEER rating, it also has an EER rating. EER stands for energy efficiency rating and this numerical rating is different than the SEER because it doesn't take the summer season's power use into account. Instead, EER is just the unit's cooling capacity divided by the energy it uses at any time it runs.
As with SEER ratings, higher EER ratings typically mean the air conditioners will operate more efficiently and use less power to achieve the same cooling results in your home.
Energy Star Requirements for Air Conditioner SEER and EER Ratings
As with other residential appliances sold in the United States, some air conditioners carry the special Energy Star rating that shows they are energy-efficient models and will save you money on your power bills. To qualify as an Energy Star rated A/C unit, its SEER rating must be at least 15. In addition, the air conditioner's EER rating must be at least 12.5.