What do HVAC ratings mean?

August 23, 2018

When you’re searching for a new HVAC system, there are a lot of factors to think about. Is it the right size for your home? Will it provide the efficiencies you are looking for? How does the system work with your finances? 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 inquiries you have, some HVAC knowledge seems just out of reach. The acronyms and shorthand that industry professionals use can raise more questions for the average individual. Lucky for you, the professionals at Lycoming Heating Company 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. 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 turns 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): The SEER rating is used to measure both heat pumps and air conditioners. Similar to AFUE, this ratio compares how much of the fuel used to power a home comfort 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 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 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 to find a solution 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 let air and particles to flow around the house. MERV assesses 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 wanting 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 frequently.

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 team at Lycoming Heating Company. You can reach us at 570-244-2510 We’re here to answer your questions and get you on the path to home comfort.