Understanding Your Air Conditioner

What do HVAC ratings mean?

If you are looking for a new heating and cooling system, you have to consider a lot of factors. Is it the correct size for your home? Will it provide the efficiencies you are looking for? Will it work with your budget? Will the HVAC 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 questions you have, some HVAC knowledge seems just out of reach. The acronyms and shorthand that industry professionals use can create questions for the average individual. Lucky for you, the professionals at Vogts Heating & Air are breaking down the system ratings to give you a better understanding as you begin shopping:

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 converts 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. Much like AFUE, this ratio looks at how much of the fuel used to power an HVAC system is converted to cooling output. A more efficient system will have a higher SEER rating.

Minimum SEER ratings change 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): 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. The higher your heat pump is rated, the more efficient it is. If you want to find a solution 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 allow air and particles to flow within your indoor space. 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 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 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 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 answer for your home comfort, or you have more questions about system ratings, call the experts at Vogts Heating & Air. You can reach us at 208-621-0129 We’re here to answer your questions and get you on the path to home comfort.

Back To Blog