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Cleveland HVAC Blog

Important HVAC ABCs

Posted by Paul Wadsworth on Mon, Apr 11, 2011 @ 03:33 PM

Do you know your ABCs?  Not the ones you learned as a kid, but the ones that will help you choose both the right HVAC system and the best heating and cooling contractor to install it.  These are important decisions for homeowners that affect not only their comfort but their pocketbook for years to come. 

So, if the time has come for a replacement HVAC system, you need to learn the HVAC ABCs:

AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency.  It’s the measure of how well a furnace converts energy into usable heat.  AFUE represents the actual, season-long, average efficiency of the equipment, so that consumers can gauge how much heat they get for their energy dollars.

There are three AFUE efficiency levels: low-efficiency, mid-efficiency, high-efficiency.

  • Low efficiency:  AFUEs below 71 percent
  • Mid-efficiency:  AFUEs between 71 percent and 83 percent
  • High-efficiency: AFUEs of 90 percent and above

All furnaces manufactured after January 1, 1992 must have a minimum AFUE of 78 percent.

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio.  Every air conditioning unit is assigned a SEER number, which is the amount of cooling (in BTUs) that it produces during normal annual usage divided by its total energy input (in watt-hours) during the same period.

For homeowners this means that the higher the SEER number, the more efficient the A/C unit is.  On January 22, 2006, the minimum standard was raised to 13 SEER.  After that point, by law no more components for low-SEER units could be manufactured.

North American Technician Excellence, or NATE, is a third-party program that administers a test to qualify techs as experts in residential HVAC and refrigeration.  NATE certification helps to ensure proper installation and service of equipment, which ultimately means fewer service calls and costly repairs down the line.

Homeowners should look for the NATE patch when hiring a technician, and should always ask heating and cooling contractors if they employ NATE-certified techs.

There’s a lot more to know if you’re considering a replacement heating and cooling system. Of course, the experts at PK Wadsworth are always here to guide you through HVAC decisions. Contact us if we can help!

PK Wadsworth services the Greater Cleveland, OH area including cities Chagrin Falls, Shaker Heights, Eastlake or anywhere in between.  To get started, check out our website.

Topics: HVAC system, SEER, NATE, furnaces

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