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The Most Common HVAC Efficiency Ratings & What They Mean



HVAC specialists have the best-kept secret on how to spend more money and time on the ones you love and the things you enjoy. The key is saving energy, which is much easier than you might think. It starts with the kind of HVAC system you choose.


Air Conditioning Ratings

If you could receive cool air instantly in your home, your air conditioning’s energy efficiency would be exceptional. Since cooling technology is a little more complex than that, your HVAC system's energy efficiency will vary depending on how up to date your system is and how well it is maintained.

Take the different types of air conditioners, for example. A ductless mini-split system might have a higher energy rating than a central system with ducts since less energy is lost during the distribution of air through the ducts. According to this infographic by the U.S. Department of Energy, evaporative coolers use about ¼ of the energy required by a central unit.

So, how do you tell if your system is keeping your energy costs low? The SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, determines how efficient your heating and cooling system is, based on the amount of electricity required to cool your home during an average cooling season. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient your system is.  

This rating is for a new system; however, without regular maintenance, your system's efficiency will drop.


Heating Ratings

Air conditioning isn’t the only way you can save. Similar to the SEER, the HSPF, or the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, measures the efficiency of a heat pump system. You can look at the AFUE, or the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, for furnaces, boilers, and water heaters. These appliances often burn fuel to heat your home. The AFUE tells you how efficiently your furnace would convert the fuel to heat; the more heat energy produced by the fuel, the better.

With any HVAC efficiency rating, a higher number means more efficiency from your system, making your energy bill less of a hassle to deal with each month. Homeowners are guaranteed the efficiency of their system thanks to a meticulous set of guidelines.


Energy Star

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created a set of standards for all appliances' energy efficiency, known as Energy Star appliances. For your air conditioner to be an Energy Star product, it must adhere to the following:

  1. Must provide energy savings for consumers everywhere
  2. The energy efficiency can be validated through testing at any time
  3. Must perform as expected by the consumer
  4. Must have a visible label distinguishing the energy star product from other systems that are not certified by the EPA

Thanks to the standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency, Energy Star products helped consumers save 200 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, decrease energy costs by $20 billion, and reduce greenhouse gas by 150 million metric tons.

For more information about the efficiency of your HVAC system, give us a call. The next time your home is ready for an upgrade, Mohr can help you find your perfect system, Energy Star and all.