Whether you're shopping for new heating and cooling equipment, or looking for a replacement air filter for your system, you're bound to come across ratings that are unfamiliar and somewhat confusing.
You'll find it easier to make an informed choice when you know the meaning of these frequently-used HVAC ratings:
Minimum Efficiency Rating Value (MERV)
MERV ratings ranging from 1 through 16 are used to describe the filtering capabilities of HVAC system air filters, and higher-rated filters can trap smaller airborne particles. Higher-rated filters can also restrict airflow too much and harm your HVAC system, though, so it's important to follow your equipment manufacturer's guidelines or get an HVAC professional's advice on the right filter for your system.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)
The energy efficiency of air conditioners and air source heat pumps is expressed with a SEER rating, which tells you how much cooling is produced for the total energy consumed during a single cooling season. The equipment available today is rated from SEER 13 through 30, and more efficient models have higher ratings, so they use less energy and cost less to operate.
Average Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE)
Gas and oil furnaces are given an AFUE rating, and there are furnaces currently on the market with AFUEs ranging from 78 to 98.5. Comparing AFUE ratings gives you an easy way to estimate the operating costs for different furnaces when you're choosing new equipment. For example, if a furnace has an 80 percent AFUE, you'll know it converts 80 cents of each dollar's worth of fuel into heat, while 20 cent's worth gets wasted.
Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF)
Air source heat pumps are given an HSPF rating to describe their total heating output relative to their energy usage over one season of operation, and more efficient models have higher ratings. Today's models offer HSPF ratings from 7.7 to 13, and Energy Star-certified models must have a minimum rating of 8.2.
If you're considering investing in new HVAC equipment for your Fort Wayne home and need help deciphering HVAC ratings, contact us at Hartman Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in New Haven, Indiana and surrounding Fort Wayne area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 260-376-2961.