Looking to upgrade your HVAC system? Before you go out shopping, it’s a good idea to learn HVAC terms. Armed with this kind of information, you can feel confident about choosing the upgrade that’s best for your situation. Here are some terms it pays to know.
- AFUE, or annual fuel utilization efficiency, is a rating that allows you to compare the energy efficiency of furnaces. A higher AFUE means less wasted fuel and lower heating bills.
- SEER, or seasonal energy efficiency ratio, is a rating system used to compare the energy efficiency of air conditioning systems. A higher SEER rating means that more cooling power can be produced with less electricity.
- HSPF, or heating seasonal performance factor, is similar to SEER but is used to measure the heating efficiency of heat pumps.
- Variable-speed blower motor – Furnaces with this feature have intelligent technology that allows the blower motor to continually determine the amount of air that needs to be delivered. The blower motor can automatically adjust to accommodate factors in your home such as a dirty air filter or a blocked register. This helps your furnace optimize its efficiency.
- Two-stage scroll compressor – This is the pump part of a heat pump or air conditioner. A two-stage scroll compressor is more energy-efficient than a traditional compressor.
- Two-stage gas valve – This is a feature that allows the furnace to burn fuel at either a high or a low setting, depending on your heating needs. Like a two-stage compressor, it saves energy because the HVAC system is not always running at full tilt.
- Radiant heating – This system uses heated tubes under the floor to warm a home. Because it does not use a fan or a duct system, radiant heating can be more energy-efficient than a traditional furnace.
- Zoning system – This is an upgrade to your duct system that divides your home into different temperature zones. A zoning system improves comfort, temperature control and energy efficiency.
After you’ve chosen the upgrade that’s right for your home, become familiar with another term, the minimum efficiency reporting value — or MERV. MERV is a rating system for air filters, and it’s a measure of the pollutants each filter can trap. You’ll need to check the filter in your system regularly, and it’s helpful to know which MERV rating is best for your specific needs. Filters with MERV ratings of five to 12 are considered suitable for most residential systems. Filters rated 9 to 12 are considered superior, and if you have family members with respiratory issues, this is the range you might want to look at.
If you would like to learn more about these HVAC terms, contact Apollo Home Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. With more than a century of experience, we are the Cincinnati-area HVAC experts you can trust.
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