What do HVAC ratings mean?

Technology

When it’s time for you to shop for a new home comfort system, you have to consider a lot of factors. Is it the correct size for your home? Will it be energy efficient? How does the system work with your finances? Will the unit be quiet enough for your house? Will it be beneficial for your indoor air quality? That’s a lot to think about. On top of all the inquiries you have, some HVAC knowledge seems just out of reach. The acronyms and shorthand that industry professionals may include can raise more questions for the average person. Lucky for you, the professionals at Van Haaften Plumbing & Heating are breaking down the system ratings to provide more education as you head into the purchasing process:

Annualized Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE): This efficiency rating is a ratio that links 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 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 carries 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. Similar to AFUE, this ratio compares how much of the fuel used to power a home comfort system is converted to cooling output. A more efficient system will have a higher SEER rating.

Minimum SEER ratings vary between regions. High efficiency models are generally more expensive, but they provide more energy savings. Lennox carries air conditioners with SEER ratings up to 26—another industry leading rating.

Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF): Looking into heat pumps? This will be what you’ll want to take a look at as far as heating efficiency. 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, 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 let air and particles to move within your indoor space. MERV assesses the size of the holes. The higher the rating, the smaller the holes in the filter—and fewer particles that enter into your home. If you’re wanting a more efficient filter, find one with a MERV rating of 10 or higher.

Air filters are critical 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 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 answer for your home comfort, or you have more questions about system ratings, call the experts at Van Haaften Plumbing & Heating. You can reach us at 641-628-3621 We’re happy to answer any questions you have and show you options that can work for your home.

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