What do HVAC ratings mean?

Technology

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 right size for your home? Will it be energy efficient? Will it work with your budget? Will the unit be quiet enough for your home? What kind of air quality can you expect? 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 already know can be confusing for the average person. Fortunately, the professionals at Kowalski Heating & Cooling are breaking down the system ratings you need to know before making a purchase:

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 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): The SEER rating is used to measure both heat pumps and air conditioners. Much like AFUE, this ratio compares 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 differ between regions. Choosing a high efficiency model may be more expensive on the front end, but you’ll see greater energy savings throughout the years. Lennox makes air conditioners with SEER ratings up to 26—another industry leading rating.

Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF): Looking into heat pumps? 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, 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 flow within your indoor space. MERV measures the size of the holes. The higher the rating, the smaller the holes in the filter—and the fewer debris particles that get 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 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 Kowalski Heating & Cooling. You can reach us at 724-745-7404 We’re happy to answer any questions you have and show you options that can work for your home.

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