What do HVAC ratings mean?

August 23, 2018

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 appropriate size for your home? Will it provide the efficiencies you are looking for? Is the price point one you’re comfortable with? Will the HVAC system be quiet enough for your space? How will it impact the air quality? That’s a lot to think about. On top of all the questions you have, some HVAC knowledge seems just out of reach. The acronyms and shorthand that industry professionals use can be confusing for the average homeowner. Lucky for you, the team at Jack's Heating, Cooling, Stoves & Fireplaces 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 compares 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. Similar to AFUE, this ratio looks at how much of the fuel used to power a heating and cooling system is converted to cooling output. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient your system is operating.

Minimum SEER ratings vary between regions. High efficiency models are generally more expensive, but they provide more energy savings. Lennox carries air conditioners with SEER ratings up to 26—another industry leading rating.

Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF): Have a heat pump? 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 permit air and particles to move within your indoor space. MERV measures 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 seeking a more efficient filter, find one with a MERV rating of 10 or higher.

Air filters are critical to indoor air quality. 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 experts at Jack's Heating, Cooling, Stoves & Fireplaces. You can reach us at 308-646-3827 We’re here to answer your questions and get you on the path to home comfort.