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 appropriate size for your home? Will it be energy efficient? Is the price point one you’re comfortable with? Will the unit be quiet enough for your home? Will it be beneficial for your indoor air quality? 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 use can create questions for the average person. Lucky for you, the experts at McNatt Inc 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. The higher the percentage of heat used, the better the system rating.

If your system has an AFUE rating of 85, that means the system turns 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 has 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 measures how much of the fuel used to power an HVAC system is converted to cooling output. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient your system is operating.

Minimum SEER ratings differ 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): 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 are in the market for a heat pump 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 allow air and particles to move around the house. MERV measures 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 get into your home. If you’re wanting a more efficient filter, find one with a MERV rating of 10 or higher.

Air filters are key to indoor air quality. Make sure to find the rating that works with your home, with your system and change the filter on a consistent basis.

These ratings will be important as you search for a solution that meets your needs. If you’re ready to find the best solution, or you have more questions about system ratings, call the experts at McNatt Inc. You can reach us at 361-247-0605 We’ll work with you to find the best solution and get to the bottom of all your questions.

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