What do HVAC ratings mean?

Technology

If you are looking for a new heating and cooling system, you have a lot of different features to think about. Is it the appropriate size for your home? Will it be energy efficient? Is the price point one you’re comfortable with? Will the unit be quiet enough for your house? 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 homeowner. Lucky for you, the experts at Bishop Heating & Air Conditioning 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. 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 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. A more efficient system will have a higher SEER rating.

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): 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 allow air and particles to flow through your home. MERV assesses the size of the holes. The higher the rating, the smaller the holes in the filter—and fewer particles that enter into your home. If you’re seeking 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.

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 Bishop Heating & Air Conditioning. You can reach us at 760-784-9034 or by scheduling 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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