Knowing the Terms, AFUE, SEER and HSPF, Is Important for Your Next HVAC Purchase

Knowing the Terms, AFUE, SEER and HSPF, Is Important for Your Next HVAC PurchaseEnergy efficiency is an important factor when cooling and heating your Palm Beach County home. But it can be hard to distinguish at a glance just which new HVAC system might be the most effective for your household. This is why certain HVAC equipment rating systems – AFUE, SEER and HSPF, for example – have been established. Knowing how and why different equipment receives a particular efficiency rating can help encourage you to select a better performing system for your household. Energy systems that work efficiently lead to lower utility bills and decreased lifetime costs of different system components.

Here’s what you need to know about three of the main HVAC efficiency ratings, AFUE, SEER and HSPF:

  • Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE): AFUE measures how much of the fuel that’s burned for furnace or water heating actually gets turned into usable heat for your home or hot water. For example, a furnace with a 78 percent AFUE uses 78 percent of the fuel allotted to heat your home, with the remaining 22 percent being lost up the chimney. In South Florida, where furnaces are relatively rare, having a high AFUE is not as important as it is farther north.
  • Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER): This is a comparative method that judges how efficiently air conditioners and heat pumps provide cooling over a season. Air conditioners and heat pumps sold in the U.S. must have a SEER rating of at least 13, and high-efficiency models start around SEER 16. The higher a unit’s rating, the more efficiently it uses power.
  • Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF): This rating measures how efficient heat pumps provide heating over a season. It reflects a unit’s estimated seasonal heating output in BTUs divided by how much energy it consumes. Consider buying a unit ranked between 8.0 to 9.35 HSPF. When shopping for a heat pump in our mild winter climate, you’ll want to place more importance on the SEER rating.

For more information on AFUE, SEER and HSPF ratings, contact our local experts at NisAir Air Conditioning and Heating, serving Martin, Palm Beach and Indian River counties.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Martin, Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Indian River Counties in Florida about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about efficiency ratings and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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