Shopping For A New Cooling System? Know These 3 Efficiency Terms

cooling system tucson arizonaIf you’re shopping for a new cooling system this year, you’ll want to get familiar with cooling efficiency terms like seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER), energy efficiency ratio (EER) and heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF). Knowing how efficiently a system potentially will operate can help you assess its lifetime costs and return-on-investment when comparing several systems.

The following sections detail what each efficiency term means, and how you can use it when shopping for a new cooling system.


These two efficiency ratings help you evaluate the overall performance of an air conditioner (A/C). EER ratings, developed in 1975, and SEER ratings, developed in 1978, are both designed to help homeowners get a sense of how much energy a particular A/C will consume. However, there are a few key differences between the two:

  • EER is the capacity of the A/C to cool divided by the total energy that it consumes. However, this efficiency rating is tested under specific temperature conditions. Think of EER like highway miles or peak-load conditions. It’s a rating that shows how an A/C will perform under extreme temperatures, and often when humidity levels are higher.
  • SEER also indicates the capacity to cool divided by energy that the system consumes. However, this rating is tested over a typical cooling season, and it’s specifically designed to give homeowners a better picture of what they might spend on energy costs during a cooling season.


This efficiency rating differs from the other two in that it denotes heating efficiency for heat pumps. If you’re looking for a standard air conditioner, you’ll need to look at its SEER and EER ratings. However, because a heat pump both cools and heats, you’ll need to carefully evaluate its SEER rating and HSPF to determine how well it uses electricity to heat the air.

Efficiency ratings should be one of the primary factors that you look at when shopping for a new cooling system, along with features that will advance comfort. If you’d like expert help during the selection process, or if you have questions, contact Rite Way Ventilating! Serving homeowners in the Greater Tucson area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about cooling systems and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Rite-Way Ventilating Co services Tucson, Marana, Catalina, Oro Valley, Vail, Sahuarita, Green Valley and Tubac, AZ. Visit our website to see our special offers and get started today!     

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    John Molloy John Molloy has been employed at Riteway since Dec 2010 and was an estimator... More »