HVAC Ratings – More Than Alphabet Soup

At first glance, the wide array of HVAC ratings may just look alphabet soup, but there’s a lot more to all these letters than meets the eye. These HVAC ratings tell you all about the energy efficiency levels of a heating and cooling system, levels of power and how well the unit or product performs. The more you know, the more you’ll be able to choose the best unit or product for your individual needs. Simply put, you’ll be a savvier consumer.

The Skinny on HVAC Ratings

A filter’s MERV rating is the way to determine the effectiveness of the air filer. MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value. The higher the rating, the more efficient the filter will be in trapping airborne particles, such as pet dander, dust, mold spores and bacteria. Filters with a high rating also enhance air flow. These ratings range from one to 16. Different organizations recommend different minimal MERV ratings. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends a rating of MERV 13, while the LEED recommends a minimum of eight.

AFUE is short for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. It is the industry measure for combustion HVAC equipment, such as water heaters, boilers and furnaces. Expressed as a percentage, it measures the actual average efficiency of a unit over a season. For example, an 85 AFUE rating means the unit outputs 85 units of British Thermal Units (BTUs) for every 100 BTUs. The higher the percentage, the more fuel efficient a unit is.

SEER is the acronym for seasonal energy efficiency rating. The SEER rating is used to measure the efficiency of air conditioner units. To attain the specific rating, the cooling output during the cooling season is divided by the total by the electric energy input. In the United States, the SEER is the ratio of BTUs in relation to the energy used in watt hours. Like other HVAC ratings, the higher the number, the higher its efficiency. Today, air conditioners can be found with up to 26 SEER.

British thermal units are measurements of heat energy. HVAC professionals use these units to measure the heating and cooling capacity of systems. Often, they will do a heat and cool load calculation to determine how many units are needed to accommodate the heating and cooling needs of your space. Levels of insulation, the amount of windows, amount of space and other factors are taken into consideration to determine the amount of BTUs needed. It is an essential calculation to ensure that the unit is neither oversized nor undersized.

EER stands for the energy efficiency ratio of a cooling unit. Its rating is calculated over the range of outside temperatures, 50 percent relative humidity and a set inside air temperature. It is then divided by electrical power input to determine its rating. For comparison, 11 EER is the same as a 13 seasonal energy efficiency rating.

HSPF is the acronym for heating seasonal performance factor. It is the rating used to specifically measure the efficiency of air source heat pumps. HSPF is a ratio of heat output over the warming season to watt hours used. Depending on the HVAC system, units with an HSPF of eight or greater often qualify for tax credits through federal programs.

Great Products and Service at Carefree Comfort

At Carefree Comfort, we provide our customers a wide range of HVAC systems with high energy efficient ratings, including furnaces, heat pumps, air conditioners, ductless systems and hybrid systems. Many of our leading brand HVAC products are energy star certified and qualify for savings through green initiatives from both local and federal programs. Our staff stays abreast of the current programs and will be more than happy to let you know all about the current ones. It’s always our pleasure to help our customers save money.

Whether you’re a business or resident, we’re always happy to provide you with a free on-premise evaluation and quote. Our knowledgeable and skilled technicians will carefully do an on-site evaluation and advise you of the best HVAC equipment for your property. All of our HVAC systems come with great warranties, and all of our installations are 100 percent guaranteed. If you’re in the market for a new heating and cooling system, be sure to give us a call.