Type to search

Energy Efficiency Ratings of Different Types of Air Conditioners


The importance of efficiency ratings in ACs cannot be overstated. With increasing utility bills and awareness about global warming, selecting an energy-efficient air conditioning system has become crucial. If you wonder how much energy your AC unit consumes, read on. 

What is an Energy Efficiency Rating: Air Conditioner

An energy efficiency rating (EER) is a measure used to determine how efficiently an air conditioning system operates. The higher the EER rating, the more efficient the air conditioner. This rating is calculated by dividing the cooling output (measured in British Thermal Unit or BTU) by the power consumption (measured in watts). 

For example, an air conditioner with a cooling capacity of 10,000 BTUs (British Thermal Unit) can remove enough heat from a room to lower the temperature significantly. This capacity means the air conditioning system can handle the cooling needs of roughly 400 to 450 square feet, depending on factors like insulation, window size, and ceiling height.

Understanding energy efficiency is essential for anyone looking to reduce their energy consumption and lower their electricity bills.

Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER)

The EER is a critical metric that helps consumers understand how much more energy their AC unit uses to cool a specific space. It is particularly useful for evaluating window ACs and portable units. A high EER rating ensures cost-effective and efficient cooling when shopping for an air conditioning unit.

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)

The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is another vital measure of an air conditioner’s efficiency, especially for a central AC unit. The SEER rating considers temperature variations throughout the cooling season, providing a more comprehensive measure of an air conditioner’s efficiency. 

ACs with higher SEER typically offer better energy savings over the long term, making them an excellent investment for conscious consumers.

Energy Efficiency Ratio for Different AC Types

Window ACs

Window air conditioning units are popular for their affordability and ease of installation. Typically, these units have an EER ranging from 9 to 12. Higher-end models can reach an EER of 12 or more, indicating better efficiency. However, many budget models hover around an EER of 9 to 10, which is sufficient for moderate climates. They may not be as effective in areas with extreme heat.

Split Systems

Split system air conditioning units, comprising an indoor and an outdoor unit, are known for their efficiency and flexibility. These units generally have higher EERs compared to window units, often ranging from 10 to 16. Advanced models equipped with inverter technology can achieve EERs up to 18, offering superior efficiency and significant savings over time. Split systems are ideal for cooling larger areas and maintaining consistent temperatures.

Portable ACs

Portable air conditioning systems offer mobility and convenience, making them suitable for temporary cooling needs or for rooms where permanent installation is not possible. However, they are not as effective compared to other types. EERs for portable ACs usually range from 8 to 10. While they are effective for small spaces, their lower EERs mean they consume more power for the same amount of cooling, potentially leading to higher bills.

Central ACs

These air conditioning systems, designed to cool entire homes or large spaces, are typically the best in terms of cooling capacity and energy use. These systems generally boast EERs between 11 and 14, with high-efficiency models reaching up to 16 or higher. The overall efficiency can be further improved by pairing the central system with programmable thermostats and regular maintenance. Despite their higher initial cost, these energy-efficient air conditioners can offer long-term savings through reduced consumption.

Ductless Mini-Split Systems

Ductless mini-split systems are similar to traditional split systems but do not require ductwork, making them a flexible and better option for many homes. These systems typically have EERs ranging from 12 to 17, with some high-efficiency models exceeding 20. The absence of ducts eliminates the energy losses associated with central air conditioning, further enhancing their efficiency and appeal.

Geothermal Heat Pumps

Geothermal heat pumps are among the most efficient cooling and heating systems available, utilizing the stable temperatures of the ground to regulate indoor climates. These systems can achieve EERs upwards of 20, making them an excellent choice for those seeking maximum efficiency. The initial installation cost is high, but the long-term savings and environmental benefits often justify the investment.

Evaporative Coolers

Evaporative coolers, also known as swamp coolers, use water evaporation to cool the air. While not measured by EER, their efficiency is generally high in dry climates. They have less energy consumption than traditional ACs, offering an eco-friendly and cost-effective cooling solution for suitable environments.

Energy Star Certification

AC units with the certification are recognized for their superior efficiency. These units meet strict energy-efficiency ratio guidelines set by the US Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. Choosing a certified air conditioning unit ensures you get a product that uses less electricity and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to the fight against global warming.

Comparing EER and SEER Ratings

When comparing different ACs, consider both EER and SEER classifications. While the EER rating provides a snapshot of the unit’s efficiency at a specific temperature, the SEER rating offers a more comprehensive view of its performance throughout the cooling season. Both ratings are crucial for understanding an AC’s overall efficiency. Keep in mind that the harder the system has to work, the more energy it will consume.

Reducing Energy Costs with Efficient AC

Investing in high-quality ACs can lead to significant savings on utility bills. Choosing units with high EER and SEER classifications ensures that your AC system operates efficiently, reducing energy consumption and utility bills. Additionally, many ACs come with rebates and incentives that lower the overall cost of ownership. Choosing lower-class AC systems may mean the systems may need to use more energy to cool the home. 

The Role of Cooling Efficiency

Cooling efficiency is a key factor in determining an AC unit’s performance. Units with higher-quality cooling equipment provide better cooling with less power consumption, which not only helps reduce utility costs but also ensures a comfortable indoor environment.

Choosing the Best Air Conditioner

Selecting the best AC involves considering various efficiency ratings and certifications. By focusing on units with high EER and SEER classifications, Energy Star certification, and advanced features, you can ensure that you are investing in an energy-efficient system. Such a choice benefits your wallet and contributes to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future.

Understanding and comparing efficiency ratings is essential for making informed decisions about your air conditioning needs. Whether looking for a central AC system or a portable unit, prioritizing efficiency will lead to long-term savings and a reduced environmental impact. 


What is energy efficiency for air conditioning?

What is a good energy efficiency rating for an air conditioner?

Which AC is most energy-efficient?

JP Reyes

JP has been in the aircon industry for almost as long as he has been alive. As a child JP would help his tatay fix aircon units at their junk shop in Cavite. After graduating UP in the early 2000's, JP then started his own Aircon servicing business and within 5 years had 10 shops in 8 different cities. Fast forward to today and JP brings all his experience and expertise online to give readers trustworthy advice and reviews about Air-conditioning buying, servicing, cleaning and repair in the Philippines.

  • 1