What do HVAC ratings mean?

Technology

When you’re searching for a new HVAC system, you have to consider a lot of factors. Is it the correct size for your home? Is it energy efficient? Will it work with your budget? Will the unit be quiet enough for your house? Will it be beneficial for your indoor 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 may include can raise more questions for the average homeowner. Lucky for you, the team at White Mechanical, Inc. 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 compares 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 converts 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 has 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. Similar to AFUE, this ratio compares 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 differ between regions. High efficiency models are generally more expensive, but they provide more energy savings. 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 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 want to find a solution that’s ENERGY STAR® efficient, you’ll need 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 through your home. 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 looking for a more efficient filter, find one with a MERV rating of 10 or higher.

Air filters are key 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.

These ratings will be important as you search for a solution that meets your needs. If you’re ready to find the model that will work for you, or you have more questions about system ratings, call the experts at White Mechanical, Inc.. You can reach us at 949-284-6382 or by arranging an appointment with us online. We’re here to answer your questions and get you on the path to home comfort.

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