Ratings & Reviews
Knowing how heating and cooling systems are rated will help you make your purchase decision. Here's what you should know:
Air Conditioners: Air conditioning systems are rated by SEER, which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and measures a unit's cooling efficiency over the course of an entire season. The greater the number, the higher the efficiency. Air conditioners installed just 10 years ago averaged 8 to 10 SEER. By upgrading to a 23-SEER unit, for example, you could reduce cooling bills by 60 percent or more. The U.S. Department of Energy's established minimum SEER rating for cooling is 13.00 SEER.
Furnaces: Furnaces are rated by AFUE, which stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. This percentage tells you how much energy is being converted to heat. The greater the number, the greater the efficiency. A furnace rated 95.1% AFUE, for example, uses 95.1% of its energy intake to heat your home. The minimum percentage established by the U.S. Department of Energy for furnaces is 78% AFUE.
Heat Pumps: Heat pump cooling is rated by SEER (see Air Conditioners). Heat pump heating efficiency is rated by HSPF, which stands for Heating Seasonal Performance Factor and measures the heating efficiency of a heat pump. The greater the number, the greater the heating efficiency.
What about HVAC reviews?
Third-party reviews of air conditioning and heating systems can be hard to find. That's because system performance is directly affected by the installation; it can be difficult to separate the equipment from the install. Many times when a homeowner says negative things about a brand of heating and cooling equipment, the problem is due to poor installation rather than poor equipment.