The energy efficiency rating of heating and air conditioning equipment is critical, yet often misunderstood. It is important to understand what the ratings stand for and how they are determined in the first place.
The standards for energy efficiency are set by the U.S. Dept. of Energy and every piece of heating and air conditioning equipment is assigned one of three efficiency ratings, which must appear on the products.
The three ratings include:
- SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). This is how air conditioners and heat pumps are rated. The higher the SEER number, the greater the energy efficiency. Currently, the approved minimum SEER rating is 13.0, while the highest SEER rating available is 21.0.
- AFUE (Average Fuel Utilization Efficiency). This is the measurement of efficiency of gas and oil-fired heating equipment. It's shown in percentages and the number indicates how much fuel is used to heat a house - and how much is wasted. For example, a 79.5% AFUE means that 20.5% is wasted. So, the higher the number the better the efficiency and the least waste. Replacing an old, inefficient heating system can result in significant energy savings, as much as 40%!
- HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor). While a heat pump's cooling efficiency is measured by SEER, HSPF determines its heating efficiency. The most efficient heat pumps have an HSPF between 8.0 and 10.0.
Although these efficiency rating standards are technical, familiarizing yourself with these numbers and what they mean can be helpful in making decisions regarding heating and cooling equipment for your home. And, your Gault Energy Comfort Specialists can help guide you every step of the way in determining which makes the most sense for you, your family, and your budget!