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 http://highperformancehvac.com/hvac-educational/112-definitions-of-seer-ratings.
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.