What do HVAC ratings mean?

Technology

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? Will it be energy efficient? 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? That’s a lot to think about. On top of all the factors you want to learn more about, some HVAC knowledge seems just out of reach. The acronyms and shorthand that industry professionals use can raise more questions for the average person. Lucky for you, the team at West Michigan Heating & Air Conditioning Services 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 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 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. A lot like AFUE, this ratio compares how much of the fuel used to power a heating and cooling system is converted to cooling output. The higher your unit’s SEER, the more efficiently it runs.

Minimum SEER ratings vary between regions. High efficiency models are generally more expensive, but they provide more energy savings. 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, 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 circulate around the house. MERV takes a look at 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 key to indoor air quality. Make sure to find the rating that works with your home, with your system and change the filter frequently.

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 model that will work for you, or you have more questions about system ratings, call the pros at West Michigan Heating & Air Conditioning Services. You can reach us at 616-669-3961 or by scheduling an appointment with us online. We’ll work with you to find the best solution and get to the bottom of all your questions.

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