Understanding Your Air Conditioner

What do HVAC ratings mean?

When you’re searching for a new HVAC system, you have a lot of different features to think about. Is it the right size for your home? Will it provide the efficiencies you are looking for? Is the price point one you’re comfortable with? Will the HVAC system be quiet enough for your space? Will it be beneficial for your indoor air quality? You have a lot to think about when considering the best solution. On top of all the factors you want to learn more about, some HVAC knowledge seems just out of reach. The acronyms and shorthand that industry professionals may include can create questions for the average individual. Fortunately, the experts at Wolfe & Sons Heating and Cooling 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 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 turns 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): Both heat pumps and air conditioners use this rating. A lot like AFUE, this ratio looks at how much of the fuel used to power a home comfort 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 makes 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. You’ll want to look for heat pumps with a higher rating if efficiency is your goal. 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 move within your indoor space. MERV measures the size of the holes. The higher the rating, the smaller the holes in the filter—and a decrease in the number of particles that get 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 critical 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 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 answer for your home comfort, or you have more questions about system ratings, call the pros at Wolfe & Sons Heating and Cooling. You can reach us at 614-451-0846 We’ll work with you to find the best solution and get to the bottom of all your questions.

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