Russell's Heating & AC
Jul 17 2018

What Does COP Stand for in an Air Conditioning System?

Russell's Heating and Air ConditioningWe often encourage our customers to consider the installation of a high efficiency air conditioning system in Palm Desert, CA and the surrounding areas. In the extreme hot weather we experience in the Southern California deserts, this type of AC can make a big difference in cooling bills. We’ve previously written about SEER and EER, which are important measures of the efficiency of an air conditioning system. However, there’s another energy efficiency rating to discuss, COP, which stands for Coefficient of Performance.

What COP Means

Coefficient of performance is used in a number of applications, but it’s usually applied to air conditioners and heat pumps. It’s a ratio of work or useful output to the amount of work or energy input. This sounds quite similar to SEER and EER, but there are a few differences. For one, COP can also be used to measure the output of heat from a system, which is why it’s useful for discussing heat pumps. SEER and EER, on the other hand, are applied only to cooling power, measuring how an air conditioner is able to move heat out of the house.

COP is equal to the heat delivered (which means in an air conditioner the heat delivered to the outside of a house) as measured by British Thermal Units (BTUs) per hour divided by the heat equivalent of the electric energy input. So an AC that generates 3.6kW of heat to the outside while using 1kW of energy has a COP of 3.6. The higher the COP, the more efficient the system.

Different from EER and SEER, which are focused on the cooling power of the system—in other words, how much heat is removed from the house—COP is focused on the heat produced on the outside. This is why COP is often more useful for determining the effectiveness of heat pumps, which can switch to moving heat inside. However, the rating shouldn’t be ignored on a standard air conditioning system. HVAC professionals can help you read the different efficiency ratings to find the right new system for you.

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