The acronyms SEER, EER and COP may be vaguely familiar to you if you’ve been considering upgrading your air conditioner to a model that can handle the warm Amarillo summers more efficiently.
If your air conditioner is more than 10 years old, replacing it with a modern, high-efficiency model could cut your cooling bills by 20 to 40 percent. Understanding how SEER, EER and COP work will help you find the model that will save you the most.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) — This is a ratio of an air conditioner’s total cooling output in British thermal units (Btu) throughout an average cooling season over the total amount of electricity in watt-hours used for that season. A higher SEER means a more energy-efficient unit. Because it accounts for temperature fluctuations over the summer, SEER is the most accurate indication of an air conditioner’s efficiency under normal conditions.
SEER 13 is the minimum currently allowed on the market, but Energy Star-qualified split-system A/Cs must achieve a SEER of 14.5 or higher. For optimal savings, look for a new air conditioner with a SEER of 16 or higher.
Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) — This is also a ratio of the unit’s cooling capacity divided by the amount of electricity used. A higher EER indicates higher efficiency. The difference is that the testing conditions are pre-defined by the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI), rather than based on average climate conditions. Testing conditions are 95 degrees outdoors and 80 degrees indoors, which are high temperatures even for Amarillo. This makes EER a somewhat less accurate indication of how efficient the system will be in real-world conditions.
Coefficient of performance (COP) — This is a ratio of the cooling output in watts divided by the energy used in watts. A unit with a COP of 3.5 gives you 3.5 kW of cooling. COP provides you with a simple snapshot of the system’s efficiency.
For more homeowner-friendly help understanding SEER, EER and COP, and finding the right A/C system for you, get in touch with us at Amarillo Air Conditioning in Amarillo.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Amarillo, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about efficiency ratings and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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