Modern homeowners look for high-efficiency electronic equipment and appliances to save on energy and utility costs and lower their carbon footprint. Such vigilance becomes essential with equipment like an HVAC system that contributes around 48 percent to the average home’s total energy consumption. Upgrading the old and outdated heating and cooling system with a more efficient unit enhances comfort and leads to a substantial reduction in fuel and power consumption.

Heating and cooling professionals use different methods to rate furnaces, heat pumps, and air conditioner efficiency. When looking for an air conditioner or a heat pump as the new heating and cooling solution for the home, homeowners should pay attention to its efficiency rating for an informed purchase and optimum year-round comfort. SEER and HSPF are the two primary energy efficiency ratings to consider. Please keep reading to learn more about SEER and HSPF ratings. This knowledge will help you purchase the most energy-efficient heating and cooling system for your home’s needs.


The SEER (or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) evaluates the performance and the efficiency of central air conditioners or heat pumps’ cooling function. The SEER rating consists of the ratio of the total cooling output of a unit over the cooling season in BTU (British Thermal Unit) divided by the total energy consumption in watt-hours during the same period. Higher SEER ratings transform to greater efficiency and more savings on energy.

The government mandates a minimum of 13 SEER for all cooling units sold in the market. In determining the overall efficiency of a cooling system, other factors like summer temperatures and relative humidity of the area, operating length, maintenance, insulation quality and cracks in the home, and cooling system quality and its proper installation also play a significant role. 

A cooling system with a SEER rating of 16-18 provides ideal cooling at a reasonable price. To calculate the relative efficiency of two cooling system models with different SEER ratings, subtract the lower SEER number from the higher and divide the difference by the higher SEER number. 


The HSPF (or Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) is a rating system for gauging the efficiency of a heat pump during the heating season. A higher HSPF rating means better efficiency. 

Heat pumps provide both heating and cooling. The HSPF measures the efficiency when the unit is in heating mode. However, the SEER ratings assess the heat pump efficiency during warm months, when they operate like an air conditioner. 

HSPF rating measures the heat pump’s performance during a complete heating season. To calculate HSPF, divide the total heat output during the heating season (including the heating output by supplementary electric systems) in BTU with the total electricity consumption in watt-hours. 

New heat pumps should have a minimum rating of 7.7 HSPF, as mandated by the government. A heat pump with an HSPF rating of 9 or above is considered highly efficient and provides higher energy and monetary savings. 

In addition to HSPF ratings, factors like climatic conditions, equipment size, thermostat settings, and heat loss through air ducts also affect the overall efficiency of a heat pump. 


An efficient HVAC unit significantly impacts your operating costs, and the SEER and HSPF ratings play a critical role in determining your savings and efficiency. Contact a local HVAC expert for more information on SEER and HSPF ratings. They will advise if you need to replace your current system with a new high-efficiency HVAC system.

Hacienda Air is a locally owned HVAC company offering air conditioning, heating, ductwork, air quality, and more to residential and commercial customers in North Las Vegas, Summerlin, and surrounding areas. Callus today at (702) 935-2749.