Understanding Your Air Conditioner

What do HVAC ratings mean?

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 appropriate size for your home? Is it energy efficient? Will it work with your budget? 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 inquiries 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 person. Fortunately, 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 turns 85 percent of the fuel used into useable heat. Systems that are highly efficient have 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 compares 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): Have a heat pump? This is the heating efficiency rating you need to know. A higher rating indicates a more efficient heat pump. If you want to find a solution 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 let air and particles to move 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 essential to indoor air quality. Make sure to find the rating that works with your home, with your system and change the filter regularly.

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 model that will work for you, or you have more questions about system ratings, call the experts at PWA Heating & Cooling Inc. You can reach us at 815-410-1231 We’re here to answer your questions and get you on the path to home comfort.

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