You may have seen acronyms such as AFUE, MERV and SEER printed on home heating or cooling products. These are efficiency ratings that the industry has devised to provide you with a way to compare the equipment you’re considering. You will also notice that some contractors are certified by NATE, which is actually another comparison tool, certifying the training and expertise of HVAC technicians. Read on for more information about what these terms mean to you:
Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency or AFUE rates heating equipment efficiency over the course of an average season of usage. It shows the amount of heat produced for each fuel dollar spent. The U.S. government requires an AFUE of 90 percent or above for gas furnaces and 85 percent for oil-fueled units to qualify for their Energy Star label. This tells you that 10 to 15 percent of fuel supplied is lost through the chimney. Higher-rated equipment will save money on utility bills.
Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) is the industry-standard number expressing an air filter’s efficiency at removing particles from the air. It measures the size of the particles (which should be small) and how many particles are removed (which should be large). Filters which trap a larger amount of smaller-sized particles, such as dust or germs, are most efficient. EnergyStar awards their label to MERV ratings of 13 or higher.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER, rates air conditioner efficiency. Cooling output (in British thermal units/BTUs) is divided by the watt-hours of electric energy input during an entire season. Highly rated units save you money with lower operating costs. SEER ratings of 14 or above get Energy Star’s label.
North American Technician Excellence (NATE) is a non-profit group dedicated to the highest quality in HVAC service. Technicians must be tested to prove their expertise and earn NATE certification.
At Detmer and Sons, our family owned business has been serving the HVAC needs of Dayton area homeowners for more than 30 years. Visit our website for more information about home heating, cooling and energy savings. Contact us any time for expert advice and friendly NATE-certified service.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information, click here to download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.