What Exactly Do Energy Ratings Measure?
Anyone in the marketing for a new furnace or air conditioner has no doubt seen energy ratings and certifications. But many consumers have no idea what these ratings actually measure or how to interpret them. It is important to do some research about these ratings before making a purchase, because even a seemingly small ratings difference can have a big impact on your energy bill.
At their core, energy ratings look to measure the amount of energy it takes to produce the heat or air conditioning in your unit. In a perfect world, there would be a 1:1 ratio of energy input to energy output, but this currently is not achievable. This means that there will be some waste of energy by the furnace or air conditioning. Energy ratings measure how much energy is wasted by a unit.
For example, furnaces are measured with a rating called Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). This measures how much gas or oil goes into a unit to produce heat. A rating of 95 would mean that 95% is converted into warmth while 5% is wasted. Anything over 90% is considered high-efficiency. Therefore, when looking to purchase a new furnace, make sure it has, at minimum a 90 AFUE rating, otherwise you will be wasting a substantial amount of energy to heat your home.
Air conditioners are often measured with a SEER rating, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This rating measures energy costs over an entire cooling season. To calculate SEER, take the total cooling output that the equipment will generate over the summer, measured in British Thermal Units (BTU), and divide it by the total amount of energy you’ll have to expend (and pay for) during the same time period. Any unit with a SEER rating over 14.5 is eligible for ENERGY STAR certification, making these units the right choice for saving money on your electric bill.
At Clasisc Aire Care, we can help you find the right furnace or air conditioner for your home, balancing comfort with energy efficiency and your overall budget. For more than 80 years, we have been the top heating and cooling company for homeowners across St. Louis and St. Charles. To learn more about new furnaces or air conditioners, contact us right away.