Understanding Your Air Conditioner

What do HVAC ratings mean?

When it’s time for you to shop for a new home comfort system, you have a lot of different features to think about. Is it the correct size for your home? Is it energy efficient? How does the system work with your finances? Will the unit be quiet enough for your home? 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 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 person. Lucky for you, the professionals at Rapids Sheet Metal Works 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 associates 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 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): 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 a heating and cooling system is converted to cooling output. A more efficient system will have a higher SEER rating.

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 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. A higher rating indicates a more efficient heat pump. If you are in the market for a heat pump 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 allow air and particles to circulate around the house. 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 make their way 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 best solution, or you have more questions about system ratings, call the pros at Rapids Sheet Metal Works Inc. You can reach us at 715-301-0256 We’ll work with you to find the best solution and get to the bottom of all your questions.

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