Understanding Your Air Conditioner

What do HVAC ratings mean?

If you are looking for a new heating and cooling system, you have a lot of different features 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 HVAC system be quiet enough for your space? How will it impact the 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 raise more questions for the average person. Fortunately, the team at Woody's Sudden Service Inc 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 associates 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 makes 85 percent of the fuel used into useable heat. A system with an AFUE of 90 or higher is considered high efficiency. 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 an HVAC system is converted to cooling output. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient your system is operating.

Minimum SEER ratings change between regions. A high efficiency model that provides more energy savings in the long run will generally be a little more expensive. 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. A higher rating indicates a more efficient heat pump. 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 let air and particles to circulate within your indoor space. MERV takes a look at 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 essential 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 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 pros at Woody's Sudden Service Inc. You can reach us at 703-278-2036 We’re happy to answer any questions you have and show you options that can work for your home.

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