What do HVAC ratings mean?

Technology

When you’re searching for a new HVAC system, you have to consider a lot of factors. Is it the right size for your home? Will it be energy efficient? Will it work with your budget? Will the HVAC system be quiet enough for your house? What kind of air quality can you expect? 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 homeowner. Fortunately, the professionals at Mitchell Heating 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. Systems that are highly efficient have an AFUE of 90 or higher. Lennox has 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 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 vary between regions. A high efficiency model that provides more energy savings in the long run will generally be a little more expensive. Lennox carries 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 will be what you’ll want to take a look at as far as heating efficiency. A higher rating indicates a more efficient heat pump. If you want a model 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 circulate through your home. MERV assesses the size of the holes. The higher the rating, the smaller the holes in the filter—and fewer 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 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 best solution, or you have more questions about system ratings, call the team at Mitchell Heating. You can reach us at 719-596-6677 or by arranging 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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