What do HVAC ratings mean?

August 23, 2018

If you are looking for a new heating and cooling 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 HVAC system 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 use can be confusing for the average individual. Luckily, the professionals at Comfort Zone Inc 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. A better system will 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 offers 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. A lot 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 vary 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): Have a heat pump? This is the heating efficiency rating you need to know. A higher rating indicates a more efficient heat pump. If you want a model 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 get 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 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.

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 model that will work for you, or you have more questions about system ratings, call the pros at Comfort Zone Inc. You can reach us at 239-214-0411 We’re here to answer your questions and get you on the path to home comfort.