Understanding Your Air Conditioner

What do HVAC ratings mean?

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? How does the system work with your finances? Will the HVAC system be quiet enough for your house? What kind of air quality can you expect? You have a lot to think about when considering the best solution. On top of all the inquiries you have, some HVAC knowledge seems just out of reach. The acronyms and shorthand that industry professionals use can create questions for the average individual. Luckily, the experts at Redhawk Heating & Air Conditioning 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 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 offers 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. Much like AFUE, this ratio compares how much of the fuel used to power an HVAC system is converted to cooling output. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient your system is operating.

Minimum SEER ratings differ 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): Do you own a heat pump or plan to shop for one? This is the rating to keep in mind. 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 flow within your indoor space. MERV assesses the size of the holes. The higher the rating, the smaller the holes in the filter—and the fewer debris 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 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.

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 Redhawk Heating & Air Conditioning. You can reach us at 432-237-0168 We’re happy to answer any questions you have and show you options that can work for your home.

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