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HVAC Ratings: What They Really Mean

Whether you need replacement filters for your HVAC system, or you’re comparing different types of new heating or cooling equipment, you’ll likely encounter unfamiliar acronyms related to various HVAC ratings. To make learning about your options less confusing, here’s what some common HVAC ratings really mean:

MERV — Minimum Efficiency Rating Value

HVAC system air filters are given a MERV rating from 1 to 16 based on their filtering capabilities, and a higher rating means a filter can capture smaller airborne debris particles more effectively. Highly-rated filters can be so effective that they damage standard HVAC system components by restricting vital airflow, though. To choose the right filter MERV rating for your HVAC system, follow the equipment manufacturer’s recommendations or ask for guidance from an experienced HVAC pro.

SEER — Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio

Central air conditioners and air source heat pumps receive a SEER rating that describes their energy efficiency, specifically the amount of cooling that they produce relative to the total energy they consume over one cooling season. Equipment on the market today ranges from SEER 13 through 30, and if you’re looking for cooling equipment that uses less energy and costs less to run, choose a model with a higher SEER rating.

AFUE — Average Fuel Utilization Efficiency

An AFUE rating describes the heating efficiency of oil and gas furnaces, and currently, the ratings of available equipment range from 78 to 98.5. You can use AFUE to compare furnaces and easily estimate the potential cost savings at different efficiency levels. A furnace with a 98.5 percent AFUE, for example, converts 98.5 cents of every dollar of fuel into heat, and only .5 percent is wasted.

HSPF — Heating Seasonal Performance Factor

The heating efficiency of air source heat pumps is expressed with an HSPF rating, which tells you the total heat output relative to the equipment’s energy consumption during one heating season. Today’s heat pumps have ratings between 7.7 and 13, and for greater energy savings, you’ll want one with a higher rating.

For help comparing HVAC ratings on new equipment for your Calgary home, contact us today at Arpi’s Industries.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Calgary, Alberta about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide.