Understanding Your Air Conditioner

What do HVAC ratings mean?

Technology

When it’s time for you to shop for a new home comfort system, you have to consider a lot of factors. Is it the appropriate size for your home? Will it be energy efficient? Is the price point one you’re comfortable with? Will the HVAC system be quiet enough for your house? How will it impact the air quality? It can be overwhelming. 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 may include can create questions for the average homeowner. Luckily, the professionals at Brookwood Inc 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 converts 85 percent of the fuel used into useable heat. A system with an AFUE of 90 or higher is considered high efficiency. Lennox offers residential furnaces with ratings up to 98.7—the highest in the industry.

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER): The SEER rating is used to measure both heat pumps and air conditioners. A lot like AFUE, this ratio measures 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 change between regions. High efficiency models are generally more expensive, but they provide more energy savings. 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 heating efficiency rating you need to know. 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, then look for a model with 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 move 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 a decrease in the number of 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 critical 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.

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 pros at Brookwood Inc. You can reach us at 641-316-9803 We’re here to answer your questions and get you on the path to home comfort.

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