5 Efficiency Ratings Explained

energy ratings for HVAC

Have you ever wondered how efficient your current heating or cooling system is? Or, do you ever feel lost while looking for an efficient HVAC system? Well, there is a simple, easy, and reliable method to finding out how efficient your HVAC is and it’s placed on the unit for all to see.

Efficiency ratings inform homeowners and prospective buyers just how efficient a single heating or cooling system is. They’re based on mathematical equations that often calculate the heating or cooling output by the electricity or gas used. And think, if they were not important, would they even be in existence let alone printed on the system?

Today, we’ll explain what the ratings mean for the customer and how they are calculated. Hopefully, after reading this, you’ll have a little more information to help you find a unit that is energy efficient. Then, you can enjoy the benefits of a reduced energy bill all while leaving a positive impact on the environment around you!


SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and it is a ratio that measures the amount of cooling produced by the amount electricity used. Most SEER ratings run between 10.9 at the lowest, to 23 at the highest; though some systems like mini-splits and ductless can go higher, this is the standard. We will explain these in more detail later. Simply put, the higher the SEER number, the greater the air conditioner’s efficiency and the more energy it will save you down the road.

You calculate a SEER rating by taking the entire cooling output a system produces through the entire cooling season, late spring to early fall depending on where you live, and divide that by the total electric energy it took to run for that same period.


AFUE is a number that specifically represents the fuel-efficiency of a furnace and boiler. AFUE accounts for the amount of fuel that is used when the unit works and converts that number into a percentage. So if your AFUE number is a 95, then it used 95% of the fuel, but loses 5% to exhaust.

Naturally, the higher the AFUE number, the more fuel efficient your furnace or boiler is. The best furnaces in the market have high AFUE numbers and utilize almost all of its fuel. Next time you’re in the market for a furnace or boiler, be sure to check the AFUE rating!


HSPF stands for Heating Seasonal Performance Factor and is a rating that is used to measure the heating efficiency of heat pumps. The HSPF rating is calculated by dividing the overall heat output by the overall electricity used. HSPF heating efficincy ratings go up to 10, and the closer the rating is to 10, the more energy efficient the heat pump is, and thus the more money it will save you down the road.

Heat pumps are great units, so if you find yourself in the market for one, make sure you check the HSPF rating!


EER stands for Energy Efficiency Ratio, and it is different from SEER in that it calculates a more rigid form of overall cooling output. Unlike SEER that is based on the seasonal output with a range of outside temperatures, EER is determined by a single outside temperature and a single inside temperature. So it doesn’t take into account for seasonal change and gives a more general rating.

EER ratings are usually used to rate a window, ductless, or single-room air conditioner because calculating the SEER is impractical for smaller units. So if you find yourself in the market for something small, this is the energy rating to pay attention to!


If you have been wonder what an IEER rating is, IEER stands for Integrated Energy Efficiency Ratio and is most commonly used to rate split-systems.It is another energy rating that is important to know about, but is one you might not actually see or talk about as much as the others. The IEER rating evaluates the system’s output at different times with specific conditions. IEER helps when evaluating a split-system because split-systems utilize multiple air handlers and work in multiple different conditions.

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These numbers are important to pay attention to when owning or buying a heating or cooling unit; they can be the difference between a making a good choice and a great one. We believe that a consumer should know what they’re getting into with any kind of purchase, but that’s even more important when it comes to something like an HVAC that is a major investment in the home. Ratings give prospective buyers and current HVAC owner’s insight into the system and the more you know about your system, the better!

If you have any more questions on home heating and cooling efficiency ratings, please don’t hesitate and contact us today!

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