Air Conditioner Efficiency

Air conditioner efficiency is the ratio between heat removed and power (watt) used - EER and SEER

Equipment used in cooling systems in residential and small commercial buildings often express the cooling system efficiency in terms like

  • EER - Energy Efficiency Ratio and/or
  • SEER - Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio

For air conditioners in rooms it is common to use EER - Energy Efficiency Ratio.

For central air conditioner systems it is more common to use SEER - Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio.

These ratings are normally posted on the Energy Guide Label attached to all new air conditioners.

Some air conditioner manufacturers participates in the voluntary Energy Star labeling program where the Energy Star label indicates higher EER and SEER ratings.

EER - Energy Efficiency Ratio

EER is a measure of how efficient a cooling system operates in steady state (over time) when the outdoor temperature is at a specific level (outdoor conditions commonly used are 95 oF (35 oC)).

  • the higher EER - the more energy efficient is the system

EER can be calculated

EER = qc / P                                              (1)


qc = output cooling energy (Btu)

P = input electrical energy consumption (watt-hours, Wh)

EER is common for room air conditioners ranging 5000 - 15000 Btu per hour.

  • 1 Btu/h = 2.931x10-4 kW = 0.0299 kpm/s = 0.252 kcal/h = 3.986x10-4 hk = 3.939x10-4 hp = 0.2163 ft lb/s

In mild climates air conditioners with EER of at least 9.0 should be selected. In hotter climates air conditioners with EER above 10 should be selected.

Note that EER is sometimes based on cooling power and electrical power consumption as

EERpower = qc / P                                                  (1b)


qc = output cooling power (Btu/h)

P = input electrical power consumption (W)

SEER - Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio

SEER  - Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio - can be calculated

SEER = Qc / P                                                     (2)


Qc = seasonal cooling energy (Btu)

P = seasonal electrical energy consumption (Wh)

SEER should be at least 10 -  there are units where SEER reach at least 17.

Example - EERpower

A cooling unit operating at 1 ton/kW would have an EERpower of 12000 Btu per hour divided by 1000 watts or 12. This is mathematically equivalent to multiplying the COP by 3.413. Therefore a small cooling unit operating at 1 ton per kW (1000 watts) is equivalent to a COP of 3.516, or an EERpower of 12.

Related Topics

  • Air Conditioning - Air Conditioning systems - heating, cooling and dehumidification of indoor air for thermal comfort

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