HVAC Ratings: From AFUE, SEER and MERV, Here's What They Mean

When you’re in the market for heating or cooling equipment for your San Diego-area home, you’ll see an alphabet soup of ratings listed on the products. The HVAC industry provides several types of ratings that allow consumers to compare the efficiency of heating and cooling equipment they are planning to purchase. MERV is the rating system for air filters. SEER rates the efficiency of air conditioning equipment and AFUE is used to compare heating products. Here is how these ratings work:

The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating for air filters ranges from 1 to 20. In practice, 16 is often the highest-rated filter used in home comfort systems. The higher the rating, the more harmful particles the filter is capable of removing from the air. As the rating goes up, it indicates that the filter can not only trap more particles, but it can trap smaller and smaller particles. This is important because the smallest particles, often microscopic, like bacteria, viruses and mold spores, are some of the more hazardous to human health.

SEER, the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, expresses the ratio of cooling produced (in British thermal units, or BTUs) during a normal summer compared with the total electric energy used in watt hours. Higher ratings indicate higher levels of energy efficiency. Energy Star grants their label to highly efficient cooling (and heating) equipment.

AFUE, or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, rates combustion heating equipment like boilers, water heaters and furnaces. It is the ratio of the amount of heat produced by the equipment divided by the energy supplied to fuel it. The DOE requires that any such product sold in the US must have an AFUE of at least 75 percent for a gas-fueled steam boiler and a bit higher for a furnace or boiler. An AFUE of 75 percent means that 25 percent of the energy is lost through the flue.

Want to know more about these ratings? You can contact the experts at ASI Hastings Heating and Air Conditioning for advice on any HVAC issue. Visit our website to learn more or just give us a call.

By | 2017-06-26T20:51:44+00:00 October 23rd, 2011|Articles|