What do HVAC ratings mean?

August 23, 2018

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? Will it work with your budget? Will the system be quiet enough for your house? What kind of air quality can you expect? 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 already know can create questions for the average homeowner. Luckily, the team at Air Houston Mechanical LLC are breaking down the system ratings to give you a better understanding as you begin shopping:

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. If you are looking for a highly efficient system, you’ll want one that has 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): This rating is used in both air conditioners and heat pumps. Similar to AFUE, this ratio compares how much of the fuel used to power a heating and cooling system is converted to cooling output. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient your system is operating.

Minimum SEER ratings change 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 offers 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 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 permit air and particles to move 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 fewer particles that enter into your home. If you’re looking for a more efficient filter, find one with a MERV rating of 10 or higher.

Air filters are key 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 frequently.

These ratings will be important as you search for a solution that meets your needs. If you’re ready to find the answer for your home comfort, or you have more questions about system ratings, call the experts at Air Houston Mechanical LLC. You can reach us at 832-777-1521 We’re here to answer your questions and get you on the path to home comfort.