Understanding Your Air Conditioner

What do HVAC ratings mean?

When you’re searching for a new HVAC system, you have to consider a lot of factors. Is it the correct 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? That’s a lot to think about. 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 use can create questions for the average person. Luckily, the professionals 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 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 makes 85 percent of the fuel used into useable heat. Systems that are highly efficient have 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): 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 home comfort system is converted to cooling output. The higher your unit’s SEER, the more efficiently it runs.

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 offers 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. 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 move around the house. 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 make their way 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 on a consistent basis.

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 answer for your home comfort, or you have more questions about system ratings, call the team 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.

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