What do HVAC ratings mean?

August 23, 2018

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? Will it provide the efficiencies you are looking for? How does the system work with your finances? Will the HVAC system be quiet enough for your house? Will it be beneficial for your indoor air quality? That’s a lot to think about. On top of all the questions you have, some HVAC knowledge seems just out of reach. The acronyms and shorthand that industry professionals use can be confusing for the average individual. Lucky for you, the experts at House of Heating Incorporated 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. 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. 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): This rating is used in both air conditioners and heat pumps. Similar to 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 vary 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): Do you own a heat pump or plan to shop for one? 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, then look for a model with a rating above an 8.2—as well as a SEER rating above 12.

Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV): Air filters have holes that permit 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 the fewer debris 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 the quality of air in your home. 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 best solution, or you have more questions about system ratings, call the pros at House of Heating Incorporated. You can reach us at 715-384-3163 We’re here to answer your questions and get you on the path to home comfort.