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 be energy efficient? Is the price point one you’re comfortable with? Will the unit be quiet enough for your space? How will it impact the air quality? It can be overwhelming. 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 already know can raise more questions for the average homeowner. Lucky for you, the team at Gillman Heating and Air 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. 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. Systems that are highly efficient have an AFUE of 90 or higher. Lennox has 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 looks at how much of the fuel used to power an HVAC system is converted to cooling output. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient your system is operating.

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 offers air conditioners with SEER ratings up to 26—another industry leading rating.

Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF): Looking into heat pumps? This is the heating efficiency rating you need to know. You’ll want to look for heat pumps with a higher rating if efficiency is your goal. If you are in the market for a heat pump 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 through your home. MERV measures the size of the holes. The higher the rating, the smaller the holes in the filter—and fewer 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 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 regularly.

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 Gillman Heating and Air. You can reach us at 478-202-3076 We’re here to answer your questions and get you on the path to home comfort.

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