Air Conditioner Energy Efficiency

 The main function of air conditioners is to offer space conditioning. They provide either only cooling or both heating and cooling which in turn improves the thermal comfort of a space. It can be a room, an entire home, or even a larger complex than that. There are mainly two types of air conditioners in the market. One is the refrigeration product that uses the vapor compression cycle and the other is the evaporation product. However, irrespective of the product type it is important that the kind of air conditioners you use is highly energy efficient. This is important because that will not only help you save on your electricity bills but will also reduce carbon footprint on our earth.

 The energy efficiency of an air conditioner is measured by the Energy Efficiency Ratio or EER. The EER is the ratio of the cooling capacity in British thermal units (BTU) per hour to the power inputs in watts. Thus, it is obvious that higher the EER rating more is the efficiency of the air conditioner. Hence, it is a good idea to buy air conditioners with a higher EER rating. You can check that out in the Energy Star Label that is embossed on the air conditioners. Selecting the right size of the air conditioner plays an important role in making it more energy efficient. For example, it does not mean that an over sized air conditioner will cool a room better. Rather, an aptly sized appliance will perform best.

 Now let us have a look at the star ratings given to an air conditioner like any other appliance. Blue stars are for its cooling performance and red stars are typically for its heating performance. In case the device has only cooling properties it will have only blue stars. The more number of stars a product has, the more efficient it is. Currently air conditioners can be given up to 10 stars. If any product has a rating below 6 stars it will not have that extra super efficiency label associated with it. Appliances having more than seven stars are considered as super-efficient. So when you are buying air conditioners make a comparative study of its star rating. However, the comparison needs to be done between products of similar size.

 Some of the ratings that you can consider before buying an air conditioner are the following:

The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio or the SEER: It measures the efficiency of central air conditioners or heat pump usage over a theoretical cooling season. It is basically the ratio of cooling provided by the central air conditioner with the amount of energy used.

The Heating Seasonal Performance Factor or the HSPF: It measures a heat pump’s energy efficiency over one heating season combined with its SEER value over one cooling season. However, the HSPF formula is a little complicated one.

 The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency or AFUE: It measures average efficiency for furnaces, boilers and water heaters. This is a measure of the theoretical heating season and does not include electricity.

Last but not the least, higher the SEER, HSPF and AFUE rating, more efficient is the air conditioner. These numbers are further used for two different energy rating programs. They are the Energy Guide Label and the Energy Star Certification.