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What You Need to Know About AFUE, SEER, and HSPF

If you’re interested in the efficiency of the furnace, boiler, heat pump, or air conditioner in your Gardendale, Alabama, home, you need to know about AFUE, SEER, and HSPF. These three ratings tell you about the efficiency of your unit and can help you decide whether to upgrade, replace, or purchase a new one.

Why Rate Efficiency?

As a homeowner, you can keep your home comfortable and save money on energy at the same time. Using efficient heating and cooling equipment lowers your energy consumption which lowers your utility costs.

Standard efficiency ratings for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment were established by the Department of Energy to help homeowners compare different units and make a decision about which unit to buy.

You can find the efficiency of an HVAC unit by checking its efficiency rating. For furnaces or boilers, check for an AFUE number. For air conditioners, check for the SEER number. For heat pumps which can both heat and cool your home, check for both SEER and HSPF.

What is AFUE?

Furnaces and boilers are required to display their annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating which tells you how efficient the unit is. Shown as a percentage, AFUE represents the amount of fuel that the unit can convert to heat. The higher the AFUE rating the more fuel is converted to heat, and the more efficient the unit.

For example, a gas furnace with an AFUE rating of 90 percent converts 90 percent of its fuel to heat and the other 10 percent goes to waste. According to the Department of Energy, older, low-efficiency heating systems can have an AFUE as low as 56 percent while a new, modern heating system can have an AFUE as high as 98.5 percent.

If you’re considering upgrading your furnace or boiler you can either retrofit your current equipment or install an entirely new unit. Weigh the cost of an upgrade against your expected energy savings over the life of the unit, and you’ll be able to decide which choice is right for you. Speak to the experts at One Source Heating, Cooling & Electrical to find out more about furnaces and boilers we install and service.

What is SEER?

HVAC units that cool your home (air conditioners or heat pumps) are required to display a seasonal energy efficiency rating (SEER). Similar to AFUE for furnaces and boilers, SEER is a rating that tells you how efficiently a unit works, but instead of heat it measures cooling efficiency. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the unit.

Rather than a percentage, SEER is a ratio that compares the unit’s cooling energy to its electrical input. SEER also takes temperature variation into account to give you a realistic picture of the unit’s efficiency over the course of a season — hence “seasonal” efficiency rating. New units start at a minimum SEER of 14, and can reach 26 for a high-efficiency unit.

If you’re considering purchasing a new cooling unit, check the unit for a high SEER that will save on energy costs. At One Source Heating, Cooling & Electrical, we offer high-efficiency Bryant air conditioners and heat pumps that will save on energy and keep your home cool.

What is HSPF?

A heat pump has two efficiency ratings: SEER and HSPF. The SEER shows the unit’s cooling efficiency while the heating season performance factor (HSPF) shows its heating efficiency. HSPF is calculated the same way as SEER but instead of cooling power, it’s a ratio of heating power to electrical input. The efficiency of the unit during temperature variations is taken into account, which makes it a “seasonal” performance factor. The minimum HSPF of a modern unit is 8.2, with high-efficiency units reaching capable of reaching 10.2.

When choosing a new heat pump, pay attention to both the SEER and the HSPF – choosing a unit with higher ratings means bigger energy savings when you’re heating or cooling your home.

One Source Heating, Cooling & Electrical offers a range of high-efficiency Bryant heating and cooling units in the Gardendale area. Learn more about our services or call (205) 509-1929 to speak to an expert about your home’s heating and cooling needs today.

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