What do HVAC ratings mean?

Technology

When it’s time for you to shop for a new home comfort system, you have to consider a lot of factors. Is it the right size for your home? Will it be energy efficient? How does the system work with your finances? Will the unit be quiet enough for your home? What kind of air quality can you expect? You have a lot to think about when considering the best solution. On top of all the factors you want to learn more about, some HVAC knowledge seems just out of reach. The acronyms and shorthand that industry professionals may include can create questions for the average person. Luckily, the professionals at Hillcrest Air Conditioning & Plumbing are breaking down the system ratings to provide more education as you head into the purchasing process:

Annualized Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE): This efficiency rating is a ratio that links how much of the fuel you use in your furnace to the amount turned into useable heat. A better system will have a higher percentage of heat used.

If your system has an AFUE rating of 85, that means the system converts 85 percent of the fuel used into useable heat. A system with an AFUE of 90 or higher is considered high efficiency. Lennox carries residential furnaces with ratings up to 98.7—the highest in the industry.

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER): This rating is used in both air conditioners and heat pumps. A lot like AFUE, this ratio compares how much of the fuel used to power a heating and cooling system is converted to cooling output. A more efficient system will have a higher SEER rating.

Minimum SEER ratings vary between regions. High efficiency models are generally more expensive, but they provide more energy savings. Lennox makes air conditioners with SEER ratings up to 26—another industry leading rating.

Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF): Do you own a heat pump or plan to shop for one? This is the rating to keep in mind. You’ll want to look for heat pumps with a higher rating if efficiency is your goal. If you want to find a solution that’s ENERGY STAR® efficient, then look for a model with a rating above an 8.2—as well as a SEER rating above 12.

Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV): Air filters have holes that allow air and particles to circulate through your home. MERV measures the size of the holes. The higher the rating, the smaller the holes in the filter—and a decrease in the number of particles that enter into your home. If you’re wanting a more efficient filter, find one with a MERV rating of 10 or higher.

Air filters are key to indoor air quality. Make sure to find the rating that works with your home, with your system and change the filter on a consistent basis.

Keeping these ratings in mind as you begin looking for a new system will help ensure you find one that meets your needs and will work with your home. If you’re ready to find the answer for your home comfort, or you have more questions about system ratings, call the team at Hillcrest Air Conditioning & Plumbing. You can reach us at 661-437-3499 We’ll work with you to find the best solution and get to the bottom of all your questions.

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