How are air conditioners rated? What about furnaces? Understanding how heating and cooling systems are rated will help you make a more educated decision.
Air Conditioners: Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) measures a unit's cooling efficiency. The higher the number, the greater the efficiency. Air conditioners installed just a decade ago averaged 8-10 SEER. By upgrading to a 23-SEER unit, for instance, you could cut cooling bills by 60 percent or more. The U.S. Department of Energy's established minimum SEER rating for cooling is 13.00.
Furnaces: Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) percentage tells you how much energy is being converted to heat. The higher the number, the greater the efficiency. A furnace rated 95.1% AFUE, for instance, uses 95.1% of its energy intake into heating your home. The minimum percentage established by the U.S. Department of Energy for furnaces is 78% AFUE.
Heat Pumps: Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) measures the heating efficiency of a heat pump. The higher the number, the more efficiently the heat pump heats your home. Heat pumps are rated by SEER for cooling efficiency (see Air Conditioners).
Looking for reviews?
Independent, third-party reviews of heating and cooling systems are hard to find. That's because the installation is so vital to the success of the equipment that it can be hard to separate the equipment from the install. Many times when a homeowner bashes an HVAC brand, the problem is due more to a poor installation than the equipment.
That said, our Frigidaire iQ Drive® air conditioner and heat pump have been reviewed by leading consumer advocacy publication Consumers Digest. Both the air conditioner and the heat pump have received their Best Buy award in the premium category.