Understanding Your Air Conditioner

What do HVAC ratings mean?

When you’re searching for a new HVAC system, you have a lot of different features to think about. 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 space? 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 questions you have, some HVAC knowledge seems just out of reach. The acronyms and shorthand that industry professionals already know can create questions for the average homeowner. Lucky for you, the team at Assured Appliance and Heating & Air 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. 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. Similar to 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 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): Have a heat pump? This is the rating to keep in mind. A higher rating indicates a more efficient heat pump. If you want a model that’s ENERGY STAR® efficient, that requires a rating above an 8.2—as well as a SEER rating above 12.

Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV): Air filters have holes that allow air and particles to flow through your home. MERV takes a look at the size of the holes. The higher the rating, the smaller the holes in the filter—and the fewer debris 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 essential to indoor air quality. Make sure to find the rating that works with your home, with your system and change the filter frequently.

Keeping these ratings in mind as you begin looking for a new system will help ensure you find one that meets your needs and will work with your home. If you’re ready to find the best solution, or you have more questions about system ratings, call the experts at Assured Appliance and Heating & Air. You can reach us at 847-306-8990 We’re here to answer your questions and get you on the path to home comfort.

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