What do HVAC ratings mean?

Technology

When you’re searching for a new HVAC system, you have a lot of different features to think about. Is it the correct size for your home? Is it energy efficient? Is the price point one you’re comfortable with? Will the HVAC system be quiet enough for your house? Will it be beneficial for your indoor air quality? You have a lot to think about when considering the best solution. 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 homeowner. Fortunately, the professionals at 1st Choice Heating & Air Conditioning, 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 associates 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 makes 85 percent of the fuel used into useable heat. Systems that are highly efficient have an AFUE of 90 or higher. Lennox carries 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 home comfort system is converted to cooling output. The higher your unit’s SEER, the more efficiently it runs.

Minimum SEER ratings change between regions. A high efficiency model that provides more energy savings in the long run will generally be a little more expensive. Lennox carries air conditioners with SEER ratings up to 26—another industry leading rating.

Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF): Have a heat pump? This will be what you’ll want to take a look at as far as heating efficiency. The higher your heat pump is rated, the more efficient it is. If you want a model 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 circulate around the house. MERV takes a look at 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 enter 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 on a consistent basis.

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 best solution, or you have more questions about system ratings, call the team at 1st Choice Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.. You can reach us at 949-204-0859 We’ll work with you to find the best solution and get to the bottom of all your questions.

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