If the air conditioner or heat pump in your Long Island home is ready for a replacement or upgrade, understanding HVAC efficiency ratings terminology will help you get the best return on your investment.
To ensure an efficient cooling process, whether you’re buying a new air conditioner or heat pump, consider the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER). The latter measures how efficiently the system operates at higher temperatures, similar to highway mileage for vehicles. Instead of showing efficiency at a single temperature, SEER gives the efficiency of the system over the entire cooling season. The minimum SEER rating required by law is 13.
In addition to SEER and EER, a heat pump will also have a rating for heating efficiency. A heat pump’s Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, or HSPF, measures how much heat is put out in relation to the amount of energy used over a heating season. The current minimum required HSPF is 7.7
Furnaces use an AFUE rating rather than HSPF. AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency and measures how efficiently a furnace uses fuel over the course of a heating season. The minimum AFUE required by law for a gas furnace is 78 percent.
Another way of telling how efficiently an HVAC unit operates is by looking at the EnergyGuide label. This yellow-and-black label is found on most HVAC equipment and offers a rundown of average energy costs. The EnergyGuide label will also tell you if the HVAC system qualifies for the Energy Star program.
To earn the Energy Star label, gas furnaces sold in the northern regions of the U.S. must have an AFUE rating higher than 95 percent. Central air-conditioning systems must have a SEER rating of at least 14.5 and an EER of 12. Heat pumps must meet these minimum qualifications: 8.2 HPSF, 14.5 SEER and 12 EER.
For more information on how an energy efficiency rating will affect your HVAC purchase, contact T.F. O’Brien Cooling & Heating. We’ve proudly served Long Island since 1934.
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