What do HVAC ratings mean?

August 23, 2018

When you’re searching for a new HVAC system, there are a lot of factors to think about. Is it the right size for your home? Will it provide the efficiencies you are looking for? How does the system work with your finances? Will the system be quiet enough for your space? What kind of air quality can you expect? It can be overwhelming. On top of all the questions 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 homeowner. Luckily, the experts at B & G HVAC 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 links 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 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 carries 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. Much like AFUE, this ratio measures how much of the fuel used to power a home comfort system is converted to cooling output. The higher your unit’s SEER, the more efficiently it runs.

Minimum SEER ratings change between regions. A high efficiency model that provides more energy savings in the long run will generally be a little more expensive. Lennox offers 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 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 permit air and particles to move around the house. 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 looking for 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 on a consistent basis.

Finding an HVAC system that fits with your home, your energy efficiency needs and your desired comfort starts with understanding ratings. If you’re ready to find the best solution, or you have more questions about system ratings, call the pros at B & G HVAC. You can reach us at 641-323-1210 We’ll work with you to find the best solution and get to the bottom of all your questions.