Explaining Air Conditioning Efficiency Ratings As manufacturing standards, materials and production get better – so does the efficiency of the units that are produced. When considering the purchase of a new or replacement furnace, heat pump or air conditioner, be sure to ask about its Efficiency Ratings. In this article our goal is to do our best explaining air conditioning efficiency ratings so they help you make good buying decisions.

#1. SEER.  The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio is the calculation for the amount of cooling your system will deliver per dollar spent on electricity. The SEER rating of any unit can range anywhere from 13 to 17. When you purchase get the highest SEER you can afford because the higher the SEER then the more efficient the system will be and the less it will cost in the long run to own and operate.

#2. HSPF.  Heating Seasonal Performance Factor is the measurement of efficiency of the heating portion of a heat pump.  So it is similar to the SEER but just focused on heat pumps. HSPF ratings range from 6.8 to 10; high-efficiency units have efficiencies of 7.5 HSPF or above.

#3. AFUE.  Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency ratio provides a number showing % heat/dollar consumed. Obviously the higher the AFUE rating, the lower the fuel costs. Standards today require at least 78%. Older furnaces (10 – 15 years or older) may fall below this minimum. Furnaces with AFUE ratings from 78% to 80% are considered mid-efficiency; ones with AFUE ratings above 90% are considered high-efficiency.

#4. MERV. Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value is a rating system for air filters. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the holes and the higher the efficiency in capturing contaminants. MERV rating range from a low of 1 to a high of 16. The issue here is that it affects the blower. A very high MERV can slow the flow of air to the detriment of the system – so blowers must be upgraded.

#5. Energy Star. The most commonly known measurement is from the EPA for HVAC products that meet or exceed guidelines for high-efficiency performance above the standard government minimums.

If you are in the market for a new or replacement unit, spend a few minutes to understand how these numbers can affect cost of the unit, comfort and savings in your home. And we hope we have done a good job explaining air conditioning efficiency ratings! Call us if you need help. We are here for you!