What Are SEER and AFUE Ratings?
Have you ever stopped to think about how much energy it takes to run our daily lives? If it has a moving part, then it requires energy to operate. For instance, energy runs our bodies, our vehicles, our lighting, our technology, and our HVAC systems. We spend a lot of time talking about energy efficient HVAC systems because an inefficient furnace can raise the cost of your utility bills and waste valuable resources.
So, how can you be sure that your heating unit is rated for efficiency? The simplest way is to check the SEER ratings and AFUE ratings. These numbers give you a clue as to how highly rated the unit is when it comes to energy efficiency.
What is a SEER rating?
A SEER rating tells you the “seasonal energy efficiency ratio” of your AC system. In a nutshell, that translates to telling you how much energy is being converted to produce your desired temperature.
The most important rule to keep in mind when checking your SEER rating is, “The higher, the better.” While systems of the past had SEER numbers as low as 6, today, you can install units with SEER numbers of 20 or even higher. The less energy used to cool your home, the longer the list of benefits, including:
- Less wear and tear on the furnace
- Lower utility costs
- Good for the environment
On top of your routine maintenance and inspections, ensure that your AC unit is functioning at its best by checking the user manual for its SEER number. If you aren’t sure that your system is the most energy-efficient, ask a professional what SEER number they would recommend.
What is an AFUE rating?
Much like a SEER rating, an AFUE (“annual fuel utilization efficiency”) rating measures how much energy your furnace is converting into heat. It can also be found in the user manual.
To put it in simple numbers, if your furnace converts 100 units of gas into 50 BTUs per year, its AFUE rating is 50%. Again, the higher this number, the better. Low energy conversion means low costs and less waste.
Of course, a high AFUE rating does very little if your furnace is dirty, clogged, or otherwise unmaintained. Help your furnace out by changing its filters, cleaning its vents, and scheduling regular maintenance. The best course of action is to have a tune-up done each Fall and Spring just before you begin heating and cooling season.