HVAC Industry Standards To Be An Educated Buyer

HVAC industry standards may be unknown to most consumers. These are a few of the most common, along with some information about what they mean to your heating and cooling system. Just understanding a few heating and air conditioning industry terms makes you an educated buyer.

(SEER) – Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio

The SEER rating system is a measure of air conditioner efficiency. It is a mathematical equation which divides the amount of cooling output of the air conditioner divided by the electricity input. Today’s standard air conditioner has a 13.0 SEER rating. The lastest air conditioner systems today can have SEER ratings as high as 25. If you have an older home with an older air conditioner, it’s possible that your equipment has a rating as low as 6.0, which means you are using much more electricity to achieve the same amount of cooling.


(AFUE) – Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency

The AFUE rating system indicates the efficiency of gas furnaces. This is a simple percentage rating. A standard furnace has an 80% AFUE which means that 80% of the gas consumed is burned to provide heat and 20% is wasted. Today new furnace heating systems have ratings as high as 98%. If you have an older home with an older furnace, it’s possible that you AFUE is as low as 65%.

The air in your home circulates through your duct system out into the rooms and back into the duct system and furnace constantly. As it completes this circuit, it gathers all sorts of particles (contaminants) from dust to pollen. All heating and cooling systems need filtration to keep functioning as designed.


(MERV) – Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value

The MERV rating system was created by air quality engineers which makes it the most confusing. MERV ratings range from 1-16. So the higher the rating the fewer the contaminants pass through the HVAC system. However, it’s not that simple because air also needs to freely pass through the filter to keep your system working properly.

The standard hardware store furnace filter has a MERV rating of 1-2 and it can filter out large particles that will harm the mechanical parts of your HVAC system. It should be changed every three months. However, a filter with that range of MERV rating is ineffective as it regards to dust and allergens.

Now you know what some of the HVAC industry standards are and hopefully you’re a more educated consumer.