Understanding HVAC Energy Efficiency Ratings


As you search for new HVAC products, there can be a variety of acronyms, numbers and ratings, and if you’re not accustomed to the industry, it’s tough to know what they all represent. But understanding these HVAC energy efficiency ratings can help you shop smarter and compare and contrast products with the efficiency range you’re interested in. Note that baselines and minimum requirements vary by location, so a good rating for your aunt’s Hawaiian condo isn’t necessarily the same as a good rating for your home in .

Here are the most prevalent HVAC energy efficiency ratings and what they mean:

SEER – Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio
The SEER rating measures the cooling efficiency of your air conditioner or heat pump. A higher rating means greater energy efficiency and more savings for your bank account and the environment. Across the U.S., residential cooling products available today have ratings of 13-23 SEER, although some houses may still have older products with as low as an 8 SEER rating.

AFUE – Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency
AFUE measures how efficient a gas or oil furnace is in transforming its fuel’s energy into heat. With AFUE, the higher the rating, the better. For example, if your AFUE rating is 80%, it means that 20% of the furnace’s fuel is lost in the conversion. The less fuel is wasted, the more money you can save. The best rating would be 100% AFUE, although no products have yet been awarded a rating that high; today’s most energy efficient furnace has a 98.7% AFUE rating.

HSPF – Heating Seasonal Performance Factor
The HSPF judges the heating efficiency of your heat pump. Again, a higher rating means higher energy efficiency, and in turn, is more cost-effective and greener. Minimum requirements for heat pumps produced after 2005 is a 7.7 rating, but you can find products with up to 10 HSPF ratings on the market today.

ENERGY STAR® Certification
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established ENERGY STAR in 1992 to help families and businesses save money and look out for the environment by using energy efficient products. To receive ENERGY STAR certification, products must meet a number of requirements through third-party testing in a lab setting. If a product meets ENERGY STAR requirements, which differ by region, it earns a blue label with the ENERGY STAR logo on its packaging. And, working with an official ENERGY STAR® Retail Partner means a company abides by ENERGY STAR’s green energy guidelines, and is always a beneficial choice.

To discover more about heating and cooling efficiency ratings or start shopping for new HVAC products, Give us a Call here at Hays Heating And Air and we can help you pick the right system for your home or office. Our office number is 919-342-8911.