What do HVAC ratings mean?

August 23, 2018

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? Will it provide the efficiencies you are looking for? Is the price point one you’re comfortable with? Will the system be quiet enough for your space? How will it impact the air quality? That’s a lot to think about. 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 raise more questions for the average homeowner. Fortunately, the professionals at Giordanos Heating and Air Conditioning 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 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 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 measures how much of the fuel used to power an HVAC system is converted to cooling output. The higher your unit’s SEER, the more efficiently it runs.

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): Have a heat pump? This will be what you’ll want to take a look at as far as heating efficiency. The higher your heat pump is rated, the more efficient it is. If you want to find a solution 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 let air and particles to flow around the house. MERV assesses 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 essential to indoor air quality. Make sure to find the rating that works with your home, with your system and change the filter on a consistent basis.

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 pros at Giordanos Heating and Air Conditioning. You can reach us at 203-772-8319 We’ll work with you to find the best solution and get to the bottom of all your questions.