Understanding Your Air Conditioner

What do HVAC ratings mean?

When it’s time for you to shop for a new home comfort system, there are a lot of factors to think about. Is it the correct size for your home? Will it provide the efficiencies you are looking for? How does the system work with your finances? Will the unit be quiet enough for your house? Will it be beneficial for your indoor air quality? You have a lot to think about when considering the best solution. 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 create questions for the average homeowner. Lucky for you, the professionals at M & S Heating & Air LLC 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. 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): This rating is used in both air conditioners and heat pumps. Similar to AFUE, this ratio compares 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 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, 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 permit air and particles to move within your indoor space. MERV assesses the size of the holes. The higher the rating, the smaller the holes in the filter—and fewer 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 critical to keeping the air in your home clean and comfortable. 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 experts at M & S Heating & Air LLC. You can reach us at 301-363-4699 We’ll work with you to find the best solution and get to the bottom of all your questions.

Back To Blog