The more you know about your air conditioner and how it works, the more prepared you will be to deal with any problems that arise from your cooling system. However, the topic of air conditioner maintenance can be a difficult one for newcomers or the uninitiated to approach, because it is brimming with terms and acronyms that they often cannot recognize. Moreover, this terminology is often critically important when it comes to understanding your air conditioner’s various functions. EER is a perfect example. If you have ever heard a technician say they need to “calculate EER” for an air conditioner, you may have been left wondering what exactly they mean. EER is one of the foremost terms you should understand if you want to make sense of the work your HVAC company performs.
What Does It Mean to Calculate EER for an Air Conditioner?
To understand what it means to calculate the EER for an AC, it is essential first to understand precisely what EER means. EER stands for Energy Efficiency Ratio and was one of the first standards used to try measuring the efficiency of a given cooling system. In theory, a higher EER indicates that an air conditioner will perform more efficiently than one with a lower EER, and will, therefore, save money for its owners while delivering adequate cooling power.
However, as we’re about to see, EER isn’t quite that simple. Furthermore, there are certain circumstances where a unit’s EER may not be an accurate measure of how efficient it is.
How Do You Calculate EER for a Given Cooling System?
EER is typically calculated by using the following method:
- The input electrical wattage of the air conditioner is divided by the unit’s cooling power (which is measured in Btu).
- This calculation takes place in an environment with 50% humidity.
- The indoor temperature during the calculation should be 80 degrees Fahrenheit, while the outdoor temperature should be 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
When is EER Not a Good Benchmark of a System’s Efficiency?
As mentioned above, there are specific instances in which EER will not necessarily be a reliable indicator of an air conditioning system’s efficiency. Below are several considerations that can reduce the efficacy of EER as a measuring tool:
- EER is not a reliable measurement of a system’s efficiency if you are trying to find it other than in peak cooling time, which is usually during the middle of summer. If you are trying to find the efficiency of your air conditioner in early fall or late spring, you may not wish to rely on EER to provide you with your information.
- EER is not an accurate way to find the efficiency of your system in areas where the outdoor temperature does not reach 90 degrees very often. If you are trying to find out how efficient an air conditioner will be in a region where the temperature is never much higher than 80 degrees, EER will not be the right measurement for you to use.
What to Use When EER Does not Provide the Information You Need
If you are trying to find the efficiency of your cooling system outside of peak season or live in an area where the temperature outside does not regularly reach 90 degrees, you may wish to choose SEER as an alternative when trying to determine the efficiency of a cooling system. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and is based on criteria mandated by the US Department of Energy. SEER ratings must be displayed on air conditioners by all manufacturers and are more accurate when used by homeowners living in moderate climates. However, in many cases, EER and SEER are both displayed on new air conditioners, and each of them can be useful depending on what time of year you are performing your calculations.
Purchasing an Air Conditioner with High EER and SEER Ratings
It is entirely possible to purchase an air conditioner that has both suitable EER and SEER ratings for your home and neighborhood. However, it is essential that you understand your circumstances in detail before you go shopping for an air conditioner so that you will be able to make use of these ratings. If you are still inexperienced or uncomfortable with the idea of learning how to calculate EER—or have limited experience choosing an air conditioner—it may still be best to consult professionals who can provide you with in-depth assistance. Calling a licensed contractor can be the best way to make sure that the air conditioner you ultimately purchase will be appropriate for your home and the environment that surrounds it. Contractors who are well-acquainted with air conditioner brands that are well-known in your region will be able to guide you towards a unit that will be efficient in your home and provide you with meaningful comfort.