Understanding Your Air Conditioner

What do HVAC ratings mean?

When you’re searching for a new HVAC system, you have a lot of different features to think about. Is it the right size for your home? Will it provide the efficiencies you are looking for? Will it work with your budget? 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 experts 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 compares how much of the fuel you use in your furnace to the amount turned into useable heat. The higher the percentage of heat used, the better the system rating.

If your system has an AFUE rating of 85, that means the system makes 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): This rating is used in both air conditioners and heat pumps. Much like AFUE, this ratio measures how much of the fuel used to power an HVAC system is converted to cooling output. The higher your unit’s SEER, the more efficiently it runs.

Minimum SEER ratings change between regions. High efficiency models are generally more expensive, but they provide more energy savings. 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 are in the market for a heat pump 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 through your home. 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 essential to keeping the air in your home clean and comfortable. Make sure to find the rating that works with your home, with your system and change the filter on a consistent basis.

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 best solution, or you have more questions about system ratings, call the experts 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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