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 right size for your home? Will it be energy efficient? How does the system work with your finances? Will the system be quiet enough for your home? 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 already know can create questions for the average individual. Luckily, the experts at Kirkfield Heating & Air Conditioning 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 compares 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. 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): This rating is used in both air conditioners and heat pumps. Similar to AFUE, this ratio looks at how much of the fuel used to power a home comfort system is converted to cooling output. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient your system is operating.

Minimum SEER ratings change 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 heating efficiency rating you need to know. You’ll want to look for heat pumps with a higher rating if efficiency is your goal. If you want a model 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 permit 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 a decrease in the number of particles that enter 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 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.

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 model that will work for you, or you have more questions about system ratings, call the experts at Kirkfield Heating & Air Conditioning. You can reach us at 204-272-8128 We’re here to answer your questions and get you on the path to home comfort.

Back To Blog