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How is Heating and Cooling Equipment Measured?


People are growing more aware of the necessity to reduce their carbon footprint and avoid adding to the greenhouse gases being released into the earth's atmosphere every year, and one excellent way to do your part is to make sure that your heating and AC system runs as efficiently as possible.

The more efficient your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is, the better it will operate while using the least amount of energy. Government standards set by the Department of Energy help the HVAC industry, businesses and homeowners determine the best systems to use for maximum efficiency.

Knowing the efficiency of a particular system can help you estimate how much energy will be required to run it as well as the approximate annual operating costs. A number of efficiency ratings exist to help you sort out how efficient a given system will be.

Be aware that bigger does not always equal better. Only a qualified HVAC professional can inspect your business or home to determine what heating and air conditioning system will perform best. A technician will need to inspect the facility and determine the correct size of the equipment that is needed. If your HVAC is oversized, its compressor may short cycle and turn off and on for only a short time. If the system is undersized, it won't be able to keep up with the demands being placed on it on a daily basis.


The Energy Efficiency Ratio gives you an idea of how much cooling your system will provide for each dollar that you spend on electricity. This rating is based on the season's hottest day of the year, in contrast to SEER ratings, which use the average for an entire season. Technicians calculate EER by dividing the output cooling energy by the incoming electrical energy.

Energy Star

Energy Star is a designation provided by the U.S. government's Environmental Protection Agency, and is only given to HVAC equipment that either meets or exceeds the guidelines for high efficiency.  These guidelines are based upon the following chonsiderations:

  • How much the HVAC equipment contributes to nationwide energy savings.
  • The price difference between the equipment and its less-efficient counterpart must be recovered by the purchaser in the form of increased energy efficiency and utility bill savings within a reasonable amount of time.
  • Performance and energy consumption of the HVAC equipment can be measured through testing and verified.


The Heating Seasonal Performance Factor measures the efficiency of a heat pump's heating component. An HSPF rating ranges from 6.8 to 10, with the high-efficiency units rated at 7.5 HSPF or higher. You calculate HSPF by dividing the output heating energy by the input of electrical energy.


The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value is a system for rating filters' efficiency in terms of the size of the holes. Smaller holes mean a filter is more efficient in trapping contaminants. You will see MERV ratings ranging from 1 to 16, with 16 being the highest efficiency available.


The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio provides you with the amount of cooling power your HVAC system provides for every dollar that you spend on electricity, based on the average for the whole season (compared with an EER rating, which is based on the hottest day of the season). A SEER rating ranges from 13 to 22, with higher numbers indicating the highest efficiency. Experts calculate SEER by dividing the output cooling energy in BTU during a season by the input of electrical energy that season.

If your heating and cooling equipment is fairly old and inefficient, you will want to contact the professionally trained experts at David Gray Heating & Air. We will be happy to discuss your options for maintenance and repair as well as how a brand new system can help you do your part in curbing greenhouse gases while saving you a significant amount of money over the long term. Please feel free to call us to set up an appointment today.