What do HVAC ratings mean?

August 23, 2018

When you’re searching for a new HVAC system, you have to consider a lot of factors. Is it the right size for your home? Is it energy efficient? Will it work with your budget? Will the system be quiet enough for your house? What kind of air quality can you expect? It can be overwhelming. On top of all the questions you have, some HVAC knowledge seems just out of reach. The acronyms and shorthand that industry professionals already know can raise more questions for the average person. Luckily, the experts at AW Heating & Air Conditioning are breaking down the system ratings you need to know before making a purchase:

Annualized Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE): This efficiency rating is a ratio that compares how much of the fuel you use in your furnace to the amount turned into useable heat. You’ll find that the better systems 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): Both heat pumps and air conditioners use this rating. Similar to 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. Choosing a high efficiency model may be more expensive on the front end, but you’ll see greater energy savings throughout the years. 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. The higher your heat pump is rated, the more efficient it is. If you are in the market for a heat pump 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 permit air and particles to flow within your indoor space. 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 get into your home. If you’re looking for 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 on a consistent basis.

These ratings will be important as you search for a solution that meets your needs. If you’re ready to find the answer for your home comfort, or you have more questions about system ratings, call the pros at AW Heating & Air Conditioning. You can reach us at 402-318-5351 We’re happy to answer any questions you have and show you options that can work for your home.