Terms You Should Learn: AFUE, SEER and HSPF

Posted On: May 05, 2014

If you are considering adding to or upgrading your whole-house HVAC system, you should learn the terms AFUE, SEER, HSPF, among others. These acronyms all stand for efficiency rating systems for heating or cooling systems. By ensuring each system – whether it’s a furnace, heat pump or A/C – is the most efficient model you can find, you can save ample money on utility bills while ensuring comfort for you and your family.

AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency and rates a combustion furnace or boiler by the amount of fuel it converts into heat. It is presented in a percentage format, and the minimum allowable AFUE on the market is 78 percent. To achieve the federal Energy Star mark of energy efficiency, a gas furnace must feature an AFUE of 90 percent in the Southern states and 95 percent in the north (including Illinois).

SEER is the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, a measurement of how efficiently your A/C or heat pump cools over a season. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficiently your air conditioner or heat pump will convert electricity into cooling. The minimum SEER rating for a split-system A/C or heat pump is 13. Energy Star rated units start at SEER 14, though high efficiency units usually start at 16.

HSPF stands for Heating Seasonal Performance Factor and measures the heating efficiency of heat pumps. The federal minimum is 6.8 and Energy Star models start at 8.

Even though you have done your research, if you can benefit from an upgrade to your existing heating or cooling system, Ernst Heating & Cooling has you covered with a range of conventional HVAC systems available for installation. If you know your system is working as efficiently as it can, we also offer a preventative maintenance agreement to keep your furnace, heat pump or A/C system working at its best.

For more information about efficiency ratings for HVAC equipment, please contact us at Ernst Heating & Cooling. We serve communities in southwest Illinois, including Glen Carbon, Highland and Staunton.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hamel, Alton, Glen Carbon, Highland, Greenville, and Troy, Illinois and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about HVAC terms and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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