Is your air conditioner as efficient as it could be? Most Seattle homeowners
may not be sure whether their air conditioning system is up to modern
standards of efficiency. If you’re concerned that your bills are
too high or that you are needing to run your air conditioner for long
hours to keep your house cool, it may be time to contact an
HVAC professional to talk about having your system replaced with a new one. If you want
to better understand how air conditioner efficiency is measured, here
is a guide to some of the most commonly used terms.
BTU. BTU is a term that stands for British Thermal Unit, and it represents
the amount of heat that is required to increase the temperature of a pound
of water by exactly 1 degree Fahrenheit. If you strike a single match
and let it burn down, you have used up approximately 1 BTU.
Horsepower. This is a common unit of power with a number of distinct meanings. In
terms of your air conditioner’s efficiency, horsepower is used to
measure cooling capacity—or the amount of heat your air conditioner
is able to remove from a room.
COP. COP stands for Coefficient of Performance. In terms of your HVAC system,
the COP is the ratio of the amount of work you put into your system to
the amount of heating or cooling you get out of it. The higher your COP
is, the more reasonable your utility bills will be.
EER. EER stands for energy efficiency ratio. For the purposes of your air conditioner,
it is the ratio of every BTU of energy your system uses to every watt
of electrical energy it produces. The EER is used to measure the efficiency
of room air conditioners, while a different ratio called the SEER—the
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio—is used to describe central air
Energy Star. Energy Star is a program in the United States that certifies the most
energy-efficient products on the market, helping consumers to make the
best decisions for their budget and the environment. In order to be labeled
with the Energy Star symbol, a product such as an air conditioner must
meet the minimum requirements of the EPA.