When it comes to heating your home, homeowners usually enjoy ripping open their monthly energy bill to realize that it’s not as much as they thought. After all, who doesn’t like saving money? As a homeowner, knowing can be half the battle, and in this case, understanding the most common HVAC energy efficiency ratings can help you save money when the time comes to swap out your current system.
Of course, there are a wide range of efficiencies for each heating and cooling product line, but because you’re a savvy homeowner, you can understand what you can pay for and what you’d like to use for your home. To help you with your education, here are the most commonly used HVAC energy efficiency ratings and an explanation of what they mean:
Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF)*
HSPF is the rating used to measure the energy efficiency of the heating part of your heat pump over one heating season. A greater HSPF rating points out that the system is running at a more efficient level than a lower rating. In the U.S., new systems have ratings ranging from the federal minimum of 7.7 to 9.4 for the systems with peak efficiency.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)*
This may be the most well-known of the energy efficiency ratings, as it measures the efficiency of your system over the cooling season. As with most ratings, the greater the SEER rating, the greater the efficiency. Today, the federal minimum for new systems is 13 SEER, and as technology continues to develop, the top rating continues to go higher, offering you systems that can cool more efficiently and are greener. You can also expect to see a dip in energy costs with a higher SEER rating.
Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE)**
For heating systems that operate with gas or oil, AFUE is the rating that you should be looking for. It refers to the amount of heat that your system provides for every dollar you spend on fuel. So if you have a system that has a high AFUE rating, it is wasting less fuel throughout its conversion process, which means savings for you year after year. There haven’t been any systems created that perform without wasting any fuel, but the Lennox SLP98V operates with a 98.7% AFUE rating.
ENERGY STAR® Certification
While it’s not a rating, ENERGY STAR® certification is another indicator that you’re getting an energy efficient system. In 1992, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established ENERGY STAR so that businesses and homeowners could save money and protect the environment by using energy efficient products. ENERGY STAR certification has its own variety of requirements that products must meet through third-party testing in a lab setting. These requirements are determined by region, so you know your system is ideal for the conditions in Louisville. Be on the lookout for a blue label with the ENERGY STAR logo on its packaging to know for sure.
Of course there are more terms we could write about, but these are a few of the most common HVAC energy efficiency ratings that we receive questions about at Becht/Givens Service Experts. If you have any questions about the right system or efficiency level for your home, feel free to give us a call at 502-785-8230 or schedule an appointment online with one of our pros.