SEER Rating Insights: Understanding HVAC Energy Ratings

If you’re looking to buy a new HVAC system, you may have seen the ENERGY STAR label on the box. This label represents the savings on energy you can expect to see when using these appliances, as guided by installation and maintenance guidelines. What does it mean? Is it accurate? We’ll explore how the ENERGY STAR rating system works and why it matters for your comfort and the environment alike.


ENERGY STAR is a government program that aims to help people conserve energy in their homes by utilizing modern technology like efficient heat pumps. It’s run by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), whose goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change. The EPA has chosen products they feel will save money while saving energy and reducing pollution.

How Does ENERGY STAR Work with HVAC Systems?

HVAC systems are eligible for an ENERGY STAR rating if they meet certain criteria set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The rating system uses a scale from 1-100, with 100 being the maximum efficiency level possible for an HVAC unit in that size range. Factors such as system maintenance and the appropriate installation of the equipment are integral parts of these guidelines.

The rating system also takes into account factors such as:

  • heating capacity
  • indoor air quality

Some units might score higher than others. Furthermore, even if they aren’t necessarily more efficient than other models at cooling or heating your home during certain seasons of the year, they may offer increased comfort or better SEER ratings, contributing to overall energy savings.

If you’re shopping for a new HVAC system, you may have noticed a lot of information about energy efficiency ratings. This technology, ensuring the optimal performance of appliances, isn’t always easy to understand.

What Does It All Mean?

Have you ever wondered what the little green tags or all the ratings on your HVAC system mean? If so, you’re not alone! HVAC energy ratings are an important part of the HVAC industry. They help you understand how efficient your HVAC system is and how it compares to other systems on the market. But what exactly do these ratings mean? Unfortunately, there’s a lot of confusion around the energy ratings for HVAC systems, and many people aren’t sure how to interpret them.

The System Efficiency Ratio (SER)

The System Efficiency Ratio (SER) is the most commonly used measure of HVAC energy efficiency. It measures how much of the energy consumption by your system actually does useful work. It also measures how much energy is lost as heat. The higher the SER, the more efficient your system will be.

SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) Rating

HVAC units are rated with a SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating. This number is based on how much energy each unit uses to heat or cool your house in relation to how much power it draws from the grid. The SEER rating is determined by measuring how much electricity a unit uses in watts over a certain period of time. For example, if an air conditioner uses 1,000 watts per hour when running and has a SEER rating of 10.0, it would use 100 watts per hour when operating at full capacity.

With a higher SEER rating, you will find the more efficient it will be in terms of energy efficiency, which means lower energy bills!

AFUE (Annual Fuel Efficiency Ratio)

When shopping for a new air conditioner or furnace, you may have noticed that the cooling efficiency rating is often written as an AFUE (Annual Fuel Efficiency Ratio). This means that the equipment uses a certain amount of fuel to cool your home each year. The higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient the equipment is at reducing your energy bill.

For example, if you have an old AC unit with an AFUE of only 10%, it will use 10% of its energy to cool your home each year. The other 90% is lost through heat transfer and other processes. On the other hand, if you get a brand-new air conditioner with an AFUE of 15%, it will use 15% of its energy to keep your home cool each year. This will help you save 15% off your annual energy bills!

The AFUE (Annual Fuel Efficiency Ratio) is a standard measurement of the energy efficiency of a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system. The higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient your HVAC system will be.

The AFUE rating is calculated by dividing the annual fuel input into the furnace by the total annual useful heat output. Annual fuel input is usually measured in British Thermal Units (BTU).

The higher an HVAC system’s AFUE rating, the less energy it uses to produce the same heat. As a result, such high-seer rating appliances are not only favours your savings but also caters to environmental concerns.The AFUE (Annual Fuel Efficiency Ratio) rating is the number you want to see. It tells you how efficient your HVAC system is; the higher the number, the more efficient it is. In general, if you have a high-efficiency system, your utility bill will be lower than if you had an older or less efficient one. Essentially, a high AFUE rating can equate to significant energy savings for homeowners. Don’t forget to examine hvac efficiency ratings when choosing an air conditioning unit as it is crucial for your long-term investment.

The AFUE rating applies to furnaces, air conditioners, and heat pump systems across different states. The higher this number is, the more energy-efficient your HVAC system will be. Besides, don’t hesitate to ask questions about AFUE numbers or consult a professional’s tips when you’re buying such an investment that impacts your home’s comfort and energy costs.

Energy Efficiency Rating (EER)

EER stands for Energy Efficiency Rating. The higher the rating, the more efficient your HVAC system is. In other words, it uses less energy to heat or cool the average U.S. home. Therefore, regular repairs are crucial to maintain the high efficiency of the system.

EER is determined by how much energy a unit uses over its lifetime. It is compared to another unit with the same capacity. For example, if you have two furnaces with 1 ton of capacity and one uses 20% less energy than the other, then it would be considered 20% more efficient than the other furnace.

EER is measured in BTUs per hour per watt of power input. It tells you how much heat will be produced by a unit when it runs at full power. It’s calculated by multiplying the unit’s tonnage by its efficiency standards. For example, if you have a 2-ton efficient air conditioner with an EER rating of 11, it would produce 22,000 BTUs per hour (2 tons x 11). Concerning the return on investment, high EER units offer sizable energy savings, paving the way for potential tax credits.

EER is calculated by dividing the total cooling output by the total electricity consumed. A higher EER means less energy is used for cooling, which means lower monthly energy costs. It can also mean a higher eligibility for certain tax credits available to homeowners who invest in energy-efficient equipment.

HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor)

HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) measures a home heating system’s efficiency over a full year. The higher the number, the more efficiently the system will heat your home.

The HSPF rating is based on three factors:

  • SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio)
  • AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency)E
  • ER (Energy Efficiency Ratio)

Each of these factors is weighted differently in determining an HSPF rating.

HSPF is a rating that measures how efficiently your heat pump will use energy to heat your home. HSPF is measured in Btu’s per watt-hour. The higher the number, the more efficient the heat pump is at converting electricity into heat. HSPF measures how well an HVAC system can heat your home. It’s calculated by comparing the energy used to the amount needed. The higher the number, the more efficient the system is at heating your home.

Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV)

MERV is short for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. It’s a rating used to rate air filters. It is used to estimate how well the filter will trap particles from the air. The higher the MERV rating, the better at removing particles from the air.

The MERV scale goes from 1-16:

1-8 = Good

9-12 = Better

13-16 = Best

The MERV scale is from 1–16, with 1 being the lowest efficiency rating and 16 being the highest. Most people will install an HVAC filter with a MERV rating between 6 and 13. Anything less than 6 isn’t going to get much done. Anything above 13 would be too high of an energy cost for most homes.

For example, an air filter with a MERV rating of 1 will let less than 5 percent of particles through its surface area. Whereas one with a MERV rating of 16 will let only 0.5 percent through its surface area.

MERV is based on the microscopic size of particles that can be filtered by a given filter. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the particles that can be filtered out of your air.

NATE certification

NATE certification is a voluntary certification program designed to promote high-quality air filters through testing and certification. It was created by the National Air Filtration Association (NAFA), which was founded in 1972 as an independent trade association representing manufacturers who make air filters and products that use them. The National Air Filtration Association certifies the products they test meet their standards for energy efficiency. Their certification is considered one of the most reliable measures of a product’s energy efficiency. For homeowners, investing in a NATE certified product means a superior outcome in terms of energy savings and efficiency, thus making it a financially viable investment.NAFA collaborates with manufacturers to submit their products for rigorous testing, especially as we approach the cooling season. Experts examine these air conditioning units to ensure they meet the required standards. If they pass, they receive a certification of compliance from NAFA stating that their product meets or exceeds all federal emission standards by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). The compliance certificate also signifies that the product has a worthy lifespan. Everything is done as per the guide provided by the EPA. This ensures that all filtration products purchased by consumers meet certain minimum performance standards. The importance of this cannot be overstated especially with the regulations around environmental preservation.

When you’re looking to buy a new HVAC system, it’s important to understand the ratings that are available for energy efficiency. Our experts can provide a comprehensive guide which covers everything you need to know about these ratings, including potential tax credits.

In particular, you should be aware of two different types of certification:

The first one is NATE. It stands for North American Technician Excellence. This organization has developed an energy rating system which serves as a guide for consumers. It allows you to compare the higher efficiency of any HVAC system on the market today. With this comparison, you can find an efficient model that will save you money on your monthly utility bills while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

  • NATE certification
  • Energy Star certification

The second one is Energy Star, which uses similar metrics as NATE but with a different set of criteria for certification. Both programs aim to make it easier for consumers to choose equipment which not only meets their needs but also aligns with important regulations on energy use and climate impact.

The importance of HVAC energy ratings is often understated. They provide a meaningful understanding of your HVAC system’s energy efficiency, aiding a consumer in making better decisions about maintaining and improving their home’s temperature control system.

Why Do HVAC Energy Efficiency Ratings Matter?

An HVAC energy rating measures how much energy both heating and cooling systems utilize to maintain a certain temperature. The higher the rating, the more efficient the appliance is at controlling your house’s temperature, indicating the extended lifespan of the unit.

The higher your HVAC energy rating, the more you’ll conserve in terms of monthly utility payments. If you’re looking to save money, understanding these ratings before purchasing a new unit can be of great importance.

Choosing the ideal HVAC energy rating for your requirements can be a complex process even for seasoned adults, hence the need for an expert’s guide.

There are many important considerations including your home’s size, climate, and specific heating or cooling needs.

How to Choose the Best HVAC Energy Rating for Your Needs

The first step in choosing a suitable HVAC energy rating is to determine the energy requirement for your space.

You can calculate this by multiplying the square footage of your house by one of two factors:

  • budget
  • climate
  • layout of your home

The degree-days factor is based on how many days per year are above 65 degrees Fahrenheit. This number helps determine how much cooling your air conditioning units will have to provide in your area during the summer.

The temperature zone factor is based on where you live in North America. Each zone represents a different average annual temperature range. For example, Zone 1 covers most of Alaska and would require significant heating.

  1. the degree-days factor
  2. the temperature zone factor

Once you’ve determined your heating or cooling power consumption, choose an HVAC system with an energy efficiency ratio (EER) rating equal to or greater than that number. The lower the EER rating, the more efficient the unit.

Choosing the right HVAC energy rating systems can be confusing due to the numerous factors to consider.

Let The Cooling Company assist in making this easier! We’re here for you and our team of experts want to ensure you get the best HVAC energy rating for your needs.

We’ll walk you through the process, offering guidance and advice, to make everything easier for you. We are here 24/7, so don’t hesitate to call us today!

There are many factors to consider, including:

  • What size is your home?
  • How often do you use your HVAC system?
  • What type of climate do you live in?
  • How much time will it take for you to install the system?
  • How much does it cost to install a new system?

Let The Cooling Company help! We’re here for you and want to ensure you get the best HVAC energy rating for your needs.

We’ll walk you through the process and get you started on your journey toward making a smart choice about your HVAC system. We are here 24/7, so don’t hesitate to call today!