What do HVAC ratings mean?

August 23, 2018

When it’s time for you to shop for a new home comfort system, there are a lot of factors to think about. Is it the right size for your home? Is it energy efficient? How does the system work with your finances? Will the system be quiet enough for your space? Will it be beneficial for your indoor air quality? That’s a lot to think about. 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 raise more questions for the average homeowner. Luckily, the professionals at Willco Air Conditioning, Refrigeration & Heating Inc. are breaking down the system ratings to give you a better understanding as you begin shopping:

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 turns 85 percent of the fuel used into useable heat. If you are looking for a highly efficient system, you’ll want one that has an AFUE of 90 or higher. Lennox offers residential furnaces with ratings up to 98.7—the highest in the industry.

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER): The SEER rating is used to measure both heat pumps and air conditioners. A lot like AFUE, this ratio looks at 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 offers 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 heating efficiency rating you need to know. 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, you’ll need 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 around the house. 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 make their way into your home. If you’re wanting a more efficient filter, find one with a MERV rating of 10 or higher.

Air filters are critical to the quality of air in your home. Make sure to find the rating that works with your home, with your system and change the filter frequently.

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 pros at Willco Air Conditioning, Refrigeration & Heating Inc.. You can reach us at 862-345-6896 We’re here to answer your questions and get you on the path to home comfort.