SEER, HSPF, AFUE Explained

Posted on AC Info March 11, 2010 by John Brescia

SEER. HSPF. AFUE. No, these acronyms don’t represent government agencies or anything like that, but to many South Floridians confronted with these terms when looking to purchase a HVAC (Heating Ventilating Air Conditioning) Unit, their meaning and purpose may be just as obscure. While looking to find the best HVAC system, you will encounter several important industry-standard efficiency ratings. such as the ones above. The higher efficiency your product, the lower your long-term energy costs will be. As always, if you have any questions on how to make these ratings work for you, Cousins Air will work with you find the best system for your needs.

SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is the measure of efficiency by which the cooling process of air conditioners and heat pumps is rated. The higher the SEER number, the greater the efficiency—and therefore greater energy savings. Today, U.S. regulatory agencies require all new products to have a 13.0 SEER rating or better. For example, Carrier’s full line of air conditioners offer SEER ratings of 13.0 to 21.

HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) is the efficiency measurement used to gauge the efficiency of the heating mode of heat pumps. The higher the number, the greater the efficiency and cost-savings. Today’s models are required to have a 6.8 HSPF. Carrier offers heat pumps with HSPF ratings ranging from 6.8 to 9.5.

Cost Savings- Higher efficiency in heat pumps and air conditioners usually means higher equipment cost but lower utility bills. If you live in a warm and humid climate like South Florida’s, you will probably see the higher cost of a high efficiency air conditioner or heat pump paid back (through lower utility bills) in a few short years. You can ask the team of experts as Cousins Air to help you determine about how long it would take you to recover the additional cost in energy savings. Of course, after the payback, you continue to save on your energy bills.

AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) is the standard measurement of efficiency for gas and oil-fired furnaces. Given in percentages, this number tells you how much of your fuel is used to heat your home and how much fuel is wasted. The higher the AFUE rating, the greater the efficiency. Obviously, we don’t have much of a use for this rating in South Florida, but it is good to know what this means to avoid confusion.

Matching Your System for Optimum Efficiency
One additional factor that affects the efficiency of your air conditioning or heat pump system is your indoor coil. If your condensing unit is not matched with the proper indoor coil, it may not give you the stated SEER and/or HSPF ratings and could even develop performance problems. When you replace an existing system, make sure you replace both units so your new condensing unit will give you optimal performance, efficiency and comfort.

Remember, if you have any questions about these ratings or anything else related to air conditioning, then look no further than the team of experts at Cousins Air. Not only does Cousins sell and install systems from manufacturers such as Amana, Carrier, Rheem, and Trane, but they are also experts when it comes to repair and maintenance of your current air conditioning system. Call the experts at cousins today: 954-889-1143 in Broward County, or 561-345-6511 in Palm Beach County.

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