Deciphering HVAC Ratings: What They Really Mean
Woman giving rating

Deciphering HVAC Ratings: What They Really Mean

Don’t let HVAC ratings confuse you when searching for new HVAC systems or understanding the efficiency of your existing equipment. The U.S. Department of Energy requires that all central HVAC systems carry ratings to let consumers know how efficiently they operate.

  • AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency). The AFUE is the efficiency rating applied to combustion furnaces and boilers. It tells you how much fuel the system uses to supply heat versus how much it wastes. The minimum AFUE starts at 80, which means that the system uses 80 percent of its fuel to heat the home and 20 percent of the fuel goes up the chimney.

    Combustion heating equipment is available with AFUE ratings that approach 100, which means the systems are nearly 100 percent efficient. Higher efficiency translates to lower fuel bills.

  • SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio). The SEER rating applies to air conditioners and heat pumps. It measures how much electricity the equipment uses compared to how much heat it removes. Minimum SEER rating start at 13 for air conditioners and 14 for heat pumps. Higher ratings indicate better efficiency and lower cooling bills.
  • HSPF (heating season performance factor). The HSPF indicates how efficiently a heat pump provides heat. The minimum standard starts at 8.2. A high SEER rating translates to a high HSPF, since heat pumps use the same parts whether they’re heating or cooling.
  • COP (coefficient of performance). This rating is used to describe the heating efficiency of electric heaters, including heat pumps. Electric space heaters and baseboard heating commonly have COPs of 1. A heat pump on the other hand will have a COP of at least 3.

    Heat pumps are far more efficient because they extract heat from the outdoor air instead of using electrical resistance. It costs much less to heat a home with a heat pump then it does to use resistance heating.

These HVAC ratings help you make informed decisions about selecting the most efficient and cost-effective systems for your home. If you’d like to learn more, contact Aggressive Mechanical Contractors, providing trusted HVAC services for Monmouth County homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Monmouth County, New Jersey and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

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