Energy Efficiency Ratings

Air Conditioner Power Consumption Facts

air conditioner power consumptionDid you know that when it comes to air conditioner power consumption, approximately one sixth of the United States’ total electricity that gets produced goes to air conditioning buildings? It was because of that fact that in January of 2006, the U.S. Department of Energy raised the minimum energy efficiency rating for air conditioners.

The new increased energy efficiency ratings are useful for everyone since they help with air pollution as well as reduce business and home energy costs.

What is the Efficiency Level of Your Air Conditioner Power Consumption?

Having said that, do you know how efficient your ac unit is?

One way you can easily find it out is through learning your cooling unit’s seasonal energy efficiency ratio, (SEER), measurement.  The SEER is a measurement used for setting a basic standard to machines that are friendly to the environment. It rates an air conditioner on the basis of the amount of energy it can effectively use. If the SEER number given to the air conditioner is high, then it goes then that corresponds with the energy efficiency rating of the unit.

Since the concerns about the environment have increased, the amount of the SEER on cooling units has also gone up. For example, in 1992 the minimum SEER standard was 10.  The new law passed in January 2006 has helped increase an air conditioners efficiency by increasing the minimum SEER to 13.

The rise in the SEER from 10 to 13 indicates that the efficiency of a particular air conditioner has improved approximately 30 percent more.  However, the downside to having an ac unit designated with a higher SEER would mean that its price and the installation costs would also go up. But this does not really seem to affect most homeowners or business people.  The presumption is that a higher initial investment would ultimately be cost effective by in the long run, and they would be able to save on their energy costs this way.

If the first fact, that one sixth of the United States’ electricity goes in air conditioning, impresses you or causes you to take notice, you would be all the more pleased to know this tidbit of information.  The Department of Energy assumes that by the year 2030, the energy and SEER laws will be revised once again. The estimated savings of these efficiency rating changes are that they would actually provide enough electricity for 26 million homes for an entire year!

What Can You Do About Your Air Conditioning Energy Usage to Save Money on Home Energy Costs?

So the best way you can save energy is to bring home a good quality air conditioner. From there, after proper installation is complete, then the most vital thing is to regularly maintain the cooling unit of your machine.

You can ensure a maximum efficiency of your conditioner if you change the filters and verify the functioning of the machine from time to time.  Checking your cooling unit at least two times a year to ensure it is in good working condition is a start.  Attending to any HVAC repair needs as soon as possible will also help to maximize the efficiency of your air conditioner power consumption.

When a Phoenix HVAC repair technician breaks the unpleasant news that it’s time for a new unit, the first thing to do…after you take a big breath realizing a large expenditure is necessary; is start learning about the options and costs of a new unit.  In a post titled “Recommended Best HVAC Brands,” the best recommended brands were listed and a general price comparison covered.  But there is another issue you’ll want to know about when it comes to buying a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning unit.  That’s it’s energy efficiency rating.

I requested the assistance of a friend of mine in the business to assist with this piece of the puzzle.

The energy efficiency ratings are commonly referred to as the AFUE and SEER ratings.  Here are some definitions and descriptions of how those ratings will help you determine the effectiveness of that unit to heat and cool your home.

SEER AND EER Rating Definitions

The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio is a measure of the cooling efficiency of your air conditioner or heat pump. The higher the SEER number the better the system is at converting electricity into cooling your home.

Energy Efficiency Ratio EER Room air conditioners generally range from 5,500 Btu per hour to 14,000 Btu per hour. EER is calculated by dividing the cooling capacity in Btu/h by a chiller’s or room air conditioners power input in watts. The higher the EER, the more efficient the unit is at converting electricity into cooling your home.

SEER is used with central air conditioners and EER is used with room air conditioners. For new central systems, SEER ratings above 13 or more are generally considered high-efficiency units. SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) and IPLV (integrated part-load value) are similar to EER, but weigh performance only during the cooling season.

COP or Coefficient of Performance is the heating capacity (in Btu/h) at standard heating conditions divided by its electrical input (also in Btu/h).

The HSPF Heating Seasonal Performance Factor is a measure of the heating efficiency of a heat pump. The higher the HSPF number the better the heat pump converts electricity to heat for heating your home. Heating Seasonal Performance Factor or HSPF and a higher number is better. HSPF is a measure of a heat pump’s energy efficiency over one heating season. Heat pump industry minimum is HSPF 7.7 for Heat Pumps.

SEER is the HVAC industry term for the efficiency of an air conditioning or heat pump (in the cooling mode) and SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The seasonal energy efficiency ratio is the amount of cooling that a heat pump (or air conditioner) delivers per watt of electricity used to power the heat pump. SEER is an acronym for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and measures the cooling efficiency of an air conditioner. The higher the SEER, the greater the energy efficiency for the air conditioner or heat pumps. SEER ratings are determined in a laboratory where an exact set of indoor and outdoor conditions are specified by the US Department of Energy. Because each piece of cooling equipment is evaluated using the exact same conditions, the SEER rating can be used in comparing the performance of equipment from different air conditioning and heating manufacturers. The government uses the same test requirements for other energy ratings such as AFUE and HSPF.

AFUE or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency – AFUE tells you how efficiently the furnace converts fuel (gas or oil) into heat. An AFUE of 80% means that 80% of the fuel is used to heat your home while 20% is wasted. AFUE is limited in that it only refers to the unit’s fuel usage and not its electrical consumption.

Furnaces and air conditioners both come in energy efficient models. Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings apply to furnaces and are a direct measure of the furnaces fuel efficiency. AFUE ratings of up to 96.7 is the most efficient furnace in the industry.

It is important to understand efficiency ratings especially when you are shopping for a new air conditioner, heat pump, or gas furnace. The more efficient the system the lower your utility bills will be. All AFUE, SEER, EER, and HSPF ratings derived from standard tests which are issued by the government and come for industry professional organizations.

As provided by Richard at
This explanation should now help you to understand the information provided by your hvac repair Phoenix technician when determining what new unit you will purchase.

Important!  Please remember, the number one thing to consider when looking for the best hvac brands is not so much the brand but who will actually be installing it!!!

Every licensed contractor who installs heating and cooling equipment will typically have a specific brand that they recommend.  Unbeknownst to many homeowners, the brand they are recommending is usually determined by what dealer gives them the best deal…. in other words, the lowest price on the hvac unit.  Think of the lowest bidder HVAC brands

Many contractors would argue that Trane is the best equipment as far as quality goes.  In fact, they would argue that no other brand is better.  As a result, if I were to say that American Standard was as good as Trane, would they argue that point?  Yea, most probably would.

However, American Standard actually owns the Trane brand name and both pieces of equipment are identical except for the way the cabinets look.  American Standard kept the Trane name because of its brand awareness.  And of course you will pay extra for that name!  So DON’T!

Then you have brands like Carrier.  They claim to be the largest manufacturer of heating and air conditioning units in the world, and probably are.  But, most of that equipment is for commercial use.  Carrier generally has terrible customer service when it comes to contractors working with dealers.  And, the equipment is not easy to work on or install compared to other brands so you will pay more.  Carrier also owns the Bryant name.

Then you have Rheem and Rudd, again, the same owners and these folks just want to go against industry standard and make the installer of the equipment pull his hair out trying to figure out the low voltage wiring specifics because they are not industry standard… again, you pay more.

I personally think that most equipment, at least what I am mentioning here, is very comparable in quality and it is more important that it be installed correctly than what name is on it.  NOTE:  There are some brands that are lower in quality so I would stick to the names I’ve mentioned here.

One brand in paticular that works well, is easy to install and also has the best pricing comes from the Goodman Manufacturing outfit.  This unit could be known as Janitrol, Goodman or even Kenmore.  When the salesman is in your house, ask him or her if they can get Goodman products.  I have a Goodman in my home, it’s been there for 15 years now and when I replace it I will install another Goodman!

As the Goodman slogan goes: Dare to Compare!

By the way, if you are interested in who owns whom, here is an interesting site to check out:  Who owns Who.

We here at HVAC Repair Phoenix, hope this information has been helpful to you in learning about the best HVAC brands.