Understanding Your Air Conditioner

What do HVAC ratings mean?

If you are looking for a new heating and cooling system, there are a lot of factors to think about. 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 space? What kind of air quality can you expect? It can be overwhelming. On top of all the questions you have, some HVAC knowledge seems just out of reach. The acronyms and shorthand that industry professionals already know can raise more questions for the average individual. Lucky for you, the professionals at Anderson Heating & A/C 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 links how much of the fuel you use in your furnace to the amount turned into useable heat. You’ll find that the better systems 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. Systems that are highly efficient have an AFUE of 90 or higher. Lennox has 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 measures how much of the fuel used to power a heating and cooling system is converted to cooling output. A more efficient system will have a higher SEER rating.

Minimum SEER ratings vary 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): Do you own a heat pump or plan to shop for one? This is the rating to keep in mind. The higher your heat pump is rated, the more efficient it is. If you want to find a solution that’s ENERGY STAR® efficient, that requires a rating above an 8.2—as well as a SEER rating above 12.

Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV): Air filters have holes that let air and particles to flow 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 enter into your home. If you’re looking for a more efficient filter, find one with a MERV rating of 10 or higher.

Air filters are key 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 model that will work for you, or you have more questions about system ratings, call the pros at Anderson Heating & A/C. You can reach us at 775-230-7628 We’ll work with you to find the best solution and get to the bottom of all your questions.

Back To Blog