Understanding HVAC Energy Ratings

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. What does it mean? Is it accurate? We’ll explore how the ENERGY STAR rating system works and why it matters.


ENERGY STAR is a government program that aims to help people conserve energy in their homes. 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.

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.

If you’re shopping for a new HVAC system, you may have noticed a lot of information about energy efficiency ratings.

What Does It All Mean?

Energy Ratings

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. 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.

The AFUE rating applies to furnaces, air conditioners, and heat pump systems. The higher this number is, the more energy-efficient your HVAC system will be.

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.

HVAC Energy Ratings

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).

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.

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.

NAFA works with manufacturers to submit their products for testing. 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). This ensures that all filtration products purchased by consumers meet certain minimum performance standards

When you’re looking to buy a new HVAC system, it’s important to understand the ratings that are available for energy efficiency.

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

  • NATE certification
  • Energy Star certification

NATE stands for North American Technician Excellence. This organization has developed an energy rating system that allows you to compare the higher efficiency of any HVAC system on the market today. This can help you find an efficient model that will save you money on your monthly utility bills while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy Star uses similar metrics as NATE but with different criteria. Both programs aim to make it easier for consumers to choose equipment that meets their needs while also being environmentally friendly.

Why Do HVAC Energy Efficiency Ratings Matter?

HVAC Energy Ratings

HVAC energy ratings matter because they help you understand your HVAC system’s efficiency. The ratings can help you make better decisions about maintaining and improving your home’s temperature control system.

An HVAC energy rating measures how much energy a heating or cooling system uses to maintain a certain temperature. The higher the rating, the more efficient the appliance is at keeping your house or office warm or cool or warm.

The higher your HVAC energy rating, the less money you’ll spend on monthly utility bills. If you want to save money on your utility bills, then it is important to research these ratings before purchasing a new unit for your home or office.

HVAC energy higher ratings are important because they help you make the best decisions regarding your home’s heating and central air conditioning HVAC system. By understanding how these systems work, you can make sure you make the right choices for your home and your family.

How to Choose the Best HVAC Energy Rating for Your Needs

Choosing the best HVAC energy rating for your needs is a complex process.

There are many important  considerations, including your:

  • budget
  • climate
  • layout of your home

The first step to choosing an appropriate HVAC energy rating is to determine how much energy you need.

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

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

The degree-days factor: is based on how many days per year are above 65 degrees Fahrenheit. This number helps determine how much cooling will be required in your area.

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. This factor helps determine how much heating will be required in your area.

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

Choosing the right HVAC energy rating systems can be a confusing process. So many different factors go into the decision, and it’s hard to know where to start.

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.

Understanding HVAC Energy Ratings

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!