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What do Heater & Air Conditioning Efficiency Ratings SEER, EER, HSPF

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October 8th, 2021 at 3:43 AM

If you\'re looking into a new heater or air conditioner, you\'ve probably come across several confusing acronyms. SEER, EER, HSPF, and AFUE all have to do with the efficiency of these systems, but what exactly do they mean?


SEER stands forseasonal energy efficiency rating, and it shows the efficiency of air conditioning systems by taking the total cooling output during the hot season and dividing it by the total electrical input during that time. Higher SEERs are better because they mean your AC unit is using less energy when cooling your home.

The government has minimum SEER standards every unit must meet depending on where you live:

  • North: 13.
  • South: 14.


EER stands for energy efficiency ratio, and it's closely related to SEER. Rather than focusing onan entire season like SEER, EER isolates energy usage at a specific operating point (usually 80degrees inside and 95 degrees outside).

The government also has minimum EER standards for air conditioners, but only in the Southwest. Units must have a 12.2 EER or greater.


HSPF stands for heating seasonal performance factor, and it rates the efficiency of heat pumps when they heat your home. Like SEER, it takes into account performance over an entire season. Again, higher is better when it comes to energy usage.

The federal HSPF minimum for a split-system heat pump is 8.2.

AFUE (95% Efficiency)

AFUE stands forannual fuel utilization efficiency and relates to furnaces. Standard efficiency is only 80%, but high-efficiency furnaces are 95%. A 95% rating means that 95% of the energy in the fuel is converted to heat, while the other 5% is lost through your chimney.

In general, AFUE ratings are more important for gas furnaces, as they have the most leaks. All-electric furnaces are extremely efficient and always have rates between 95% and 100%. Today,the federal minimum for new furnaces is 78%.

Do They Really Save Me Money?

Buying a new AC or heater with a high SEER, EER, or HSPF rating can save you quite a lot over time. In fact, the Department of Energy estimates you could save as much as20% to 40% on your cooling costs every month by upgrading an older AC with a more efficient model.

As for furnaces with high AFUE ratings, the savings is clear — if your old model had a 50% rating and you upgrade to a 95% rating, you'll use 45% less energy when heating your home.

What Are the Ratings of Systems Over 15-20 Years Old?

Older HVAC systems typically have quite low SEER and EER values, coming in at 10 or lower. This means they require much more energy than a more efficient system to chill the same amount of air.

As for AFUE, an older system might be as low as 56% to 70%, meaning you'll see a ton of wasted energy when running these.

Find Your Upgrade Today

To learn more about upgrading your furnace, air conditioning, or heat pump, visit our website or give us a call at 215-377-9090 to learn more about our affordable options.

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