What is SEER and HSPF? Why They Matter

Published on: August 16, 2012

Today’s manufacturers construct modern HVAC systems to perform better than ever, which is why you may consider upgrading the unit in your home. Once you begin shopping for a new system, it will be helpful if you first become familiar with the industry’s energy ratings such as SEER and HSPF.

SEER Ratings

When you review an HVAC device, you should check the unit’s energy label, which will describe the unit’s energy savings. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER, grade will help you understand the effectiveness of each device. The SEER rating is the calculation of the system’s cooling efforts throughout a year.

In 2006, the federal government placed regulations on the industry and determined that HVAC unit’s must have a SEER rating of at least 13. If you’ve had your unit for a while, then it could be working at a rating as low as eight.

When you’re reviewing HVAC products, keep in mind that with a one-point increase in a device’s SEER rating, it will cost an estimated 8 to 10 percent more. However, if you replace a unit that is running at an eight with a system rated at 16, then you will be lowering your energy output by half along with your utility bills.

The measurement includes the amount of cooling elements that the unit is able to create in relation to the quantity of electricity it requires. Another factor for you to consider regarding SEER is that the number includes temperature variations and capacity.

You’ll see SEER ratings that range from 13 to 23 with the lower number providing fewer utility bill savings than a higher rated device. The benefit to purchasing a lower grade HVAC system is your initial cost will be lower.

You should consider that you would save over time with a higher rated unit since your utility bills will be less. If the unit in your home is at least 10 years old, then you will improve your energy savings by upgrading to a new system.

Another factor to remember is climate. If you live in an area with warm temperatures, then your budget will benefit from an HVAC unit with a high SEER rating. In a warm climate, you could purchase a device with a SEER grade of 18 and recoup your initial cost for the unit in just two to three years. When you contact our service team for air conditioning installation, we’ll make sure you have an efficient system.

HSPF Ratings

If you decide to upgrade your unit’s heat pump, then you should review the device’s Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, or HSPF grade. The number will inform you as to the HVAC system’s energy efficiency during a season of providing heat to your home.

Before you invest in a new heat pump, you should look for numbers around five, six or seven as a heat pump in this range will provide you with a highly efficient unit. When you purchase a device with a higher rating, you will reduce your utility costs along with the amount of energy your home uses.

Heat pumps receive SEER ratings as well, which will help guide you. You can also purchase a product that is under the Energy Star rating since mechanisms under the guide will provide you with a highly rated machine that is within the top 25 percent of efficient HVAC units.

You can feel confident with an Energy Star rated device as the system will work to lower its release of greenhouse gases along with other planet affecting chemicals. The grading is there to simplify your HVAC buying process. Our air conditioning installation department will evaluate your home to ensure you have the best unit for your residence.


When you are shopping for an HVAC system, buying the right unit size is crucial. If you purchase a device that is too large, then you will have a device that will increase your energy use and utility bills. An overly large system can also create moisture problems in your home as the system will cool your home quickly, which will prevent the device from eliminating moist air. When you have humidity in your home’s air, mold can grow. The dangerous pollutant may cause breathing and allergy problems.

After you contact our air conditioning installation team, we will complete an assessment on your home called Manual J. This detailed calculation includes a thorough review of your home. For example, we will measure the entire size of your home, your windows, climate and home placement. We will also include the number of residents in your home along with your kitchen and the amount of bathrooms you have.

When you need a new HVAC system, you can shop smart by including the SEER rating, HSPF grade and unit size in your decision. Once you’ve selected a system, you can call our air conditioning installation department for assistance.