What do HVAC ratings mean?

Technology

If you are looking for a new heating and cooling system, there are a lot of factors to think about. Is it the appropriate size for your home? Will it provide the efficiencies you are looking for? Is the price point one you’re comfortable with? Will the HVAC system be quiet enough for your home? What kind of air quality can you expect? It can be overwhelming. On top of all the inquiries 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 homeowner. Fortunately, the team at Central Air Inc 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 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. Systems that are highly efficient have an AFUE of 90 or higher. Lennox has 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. Much like AFUE, this ratio measures how much of the fuel used to power a heating and cooling system is converted to cooling output. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient your system is operating.

Minimum SEER ratings differ 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): Looking into heat pumps? This will be what you’ll want to take a look at as far as heating efficiency. A higher rating indicates a more efficient heat pump. If you want a model that’s ENERGY STAR® efficient, that requires 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 within your indoor space. MERV assesses the size of the holes. The higher the rating, the smaller the holes in the filter—and the fewer debris particles that enter into your home. If you’re seeking 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 regularly.

Finding an HVAC system that fits with your home, your energy efficiency needs and your desired comfort starts with understanding ratings. If you’re ready to find the answer for your home comfort, or you have more questions about system ratings, call the team at Central Air Inc. You can reach us at 503-656-1908 We’ll work with you to find the best solution and get to the bottom of all your questions.

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