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 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 system be quiet enough for your space? Will it be beneficial for your indoor air quality? 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 may include can be confusing for the average individual. Luckily, the experts at PWA Heating & Cooling 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. 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 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): The SEER rating is used to measure both heat pumps and air conditioners. 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. The higher your unit’s SEER, the more efficiently it runs.

Minimum SEER ratings vary between regions. A high efficiency model that provides more energy savings in the long run will generally be a little more expensive. 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 rating to keep in mind. The higher your heat pump is rated, the more efficient it is. 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 let air and particles to flow within your indoor space. MERV assesses 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 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 experts at PWA Heating & Cooling Inc. You can reach us at 815-768-6656 or by arranging an appointment with us online. We’re happy to answer any questions you have and show you options that can work for your home.

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